Ask Misty Archive - Valdemar

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Q: Greetings from Germany

First, I am sorry for my terrible English.My name is Jörg Kartner and I want to thank You for writing so many wonderful books.
The Vegarth series was and still is a pleasure to read- I often findmyself reading one or the other of the books yet again.And thank You for the gryphons, Herr Dixon and Frau Lackey. You did an amazing job in describing them and give then character.

Now to my questions, I hope I don't bother You to much.1) How great in numbers are the Hawkbrothers? Are they really countingonly a few thousand?

2) Will we ever read more stories about the Mage Wars characters? (Iadmit, I miss Skan and Amberdrake)

3) And finally, maybe a very stupid question but an important one for me.Do the "artifical" creatures like the gryphons the Kyree and the Hertasi go to Bermuda too?

Thank You for Your time.
Your fan
A: Greetings Jorg!

To answer your questions:

1) altogether there are probably about 100,000 Hawkbrothers, give or take a couple thousand
2) possibly
3) Of course they do! it would be a pretty poor paradise without your friends in it!


Q: Heyla, I'm a big fan of your Velgarth/Valdemar novels, as well as many others. I think you do an excellent job of creating these worlds that complicate the mind. I often find the problem when reading fantasy that the author cannot deal with magic and keep up character developement and a plot that you care about. I applaud you for that. Now for the question:
Of course, everyone knows that Baron Valdemar and the rest of his followers traveled to the west to escape the tyranny of the Eastern Empire. Similar to the United States, except the U.K. isn't the enemy that is first portrayed of the Eastern Empire in Valdemar's perspective. What I need clarification on is the language spoken. Like the U.S., we speak English, and we didn't change our language at first. Over time, however, our language was altered, but still referred to as English, and still we have the ability to communicate to anyone who can speak any form of English clearly. Is that similar to Valdemaran?
To sum up, did the Baron and his followers develope another different language, or did they take their original language and modify it? Or did they just keep the same language and change the name, hoping the Eastern Empire wouldn't notice? If you don't know at this time, it's okay. Developing a whole universe isn't as easy as it seems, even if you are writing it. I appreciate the time you put into your work. Oh! One more question that won't challenge your mind too much:
As almost all of your readers know, you live with a flock of parrots. I wanted to know, do you live with any other animals? You said in the Author's Note section of your Winds trilogy that birds may not be the most lovey-duvey animals you can own, and was just wondering if there was another animal at your home (besides Larry) that you can trust. JK Larry! Anyways, thanks for your time, and I can't wait for Exile's Valor and the new anthology to come out!
A: Although I haven't done any development on it, I would think that the language of the Eastern Empire and Valdemar were originally the same, but by now bear the same resemblence to each other as Spanish and Italian. I have had cats in the past (rather incompatible with parrots now!) and we have a Schutzhund-trained German shepherd, Xito von der Berg Haidstein.

Q: I was wondering if it is just a coincidence that Kantis from Exile s Honor has a name nearly identical to Kantris A: In this case, yes.

Q: Thank you, thank you, thank you. What for? For writing so many books that have been faithful companions, creating characters who seem like personal friends, and for providing a wonderful world to escape to.
I've been reading your books since I was 12. I'm now 23 and am at the point where I wait with baited breath for each new release, solo work or colaboration, Valdemar (my first love) or not. I thank you for being so prolific, and so consistantly enchanting in your words.
On to the point. I recently embarked on something of a project, reading all the Valdemar related books in their "chronological" order. How you have grown with time, your words become more eloquent in every book, your characters more real, your images so much more vivid. I'm a writer myself, (no, I don't want you to read anything for me, even though I'm a poet, not a novelist) and you have inspired me to keep improving my style, to sit down for an hour or two everyday and make myself write something, anything.
The courage you gave Vanyel, Talia, Kerowyn, and so many others, has given me courage during some of the more difficult times in my life. They've kept me company during my most isolated times, been my friends when I had none, and inspired me to go out and do something for my fellow man.
So I thank you, Mercedes, (if it's ok that I call you that) for giving at least one girl something to grow with and on, for giving me a world completly apart to escape to, for giving me roll models when I had none, for making me laugh and cry, for being so prolific, for doing it without pomp and fanfare. Your books have helped shape me into the person I am today, giving me many of the ideals and morals I hold dear.
You've made my world a better place. I will never fully express it, but thank you. Thank you so much.
With deepest respect and admiration.
A: whoa....

Q: of course like all the others that email you i love your writing. i am thirteen and i started reading your books for around 5 months ago and i have completed 4 of your Valdemar series and one novel (take a thief) and after reading the mage wars i was really wondering what kind of tails gryphon's had. the way i figured it would be really hard to fly with a cat like tail (how they are most commonly drawn) but in you writing it said that they thumped their tails when they got annoyed (or something along those lines) and it would probably be hard to thump a feathered tail. i have asked many people and they don't know either (in fact one of the people i consulted went babbling about how hard it would be to fly with a body that massive any way) so i am still left wondering. and just out of the blue isn't lion king music awesome? A: According to Larry, who designed them, Gryphons have feathered tails. Ibelieve we said something about them twitching their tails when annoyed,which is rather different from thumping them---and if you've ever owned abird, you will have seen that particular behavior, from parakeet to Macawand everything in between.

Q: Dear Ms. Lackey,
First, I was hoping you wouldn't mind a little ancedote having to do with your books. This is what happened:
About seven years ago, I worked for the phone company and had an awful schedule. As all of my children were over twelve they pretty much became latch-key kids. My younger two, a boy and girl, were fighting constantly during the summer school break. After they broke the fifth tv remote I told them they could not watch television until after they had read abook.
The books I made them read were "Arrows of the Queen" for my daughter and "Pawn of Prophecy" for my son. I chose those books because I had already read them. I had hoped to get them interested in something besides television and Nintendo. It worked. Beautifully!
Today, my son is a Lance Corporal in the Marines and is Kuwait. My daughter will be 21 this year and is a new mom. They are both avidreaders and neither considers their day complete without having read something.
While my daughter went on to find other interests in reading she never forgot Alberich. She *loves* Alberich. So when I bought "Exile's Honor" she borrowed it. I can't get it back now. Don't worry that's not yourproblem.
I have read your Q&A page and haven't seen these questions. It's probably not a big deal but what was Baron Valdemar's first name? Did he get elevated to Grove Born as a result of his efforts to insure his peoples' safety and prosperity?
One last question please? Is it possible that the Tedrels and Valdemar were related? I think it would be kind of awesome if the war that costthe Tedrels so much that they became lost in dispair was the Eastern Empire annexing their country.
Thank you.
A: To tell you the truth, I haven't yet decided what Baron Valdemar's full namewas. I make these things up as I need them, and I haven't needed that yet.
The Grove-Born are the equivalent of Archangels; spirits that never werehuman, so I don't think Valdemar would make that cut.And I haven't exactly figured out where the Tedrels came from, though asthey are originally from further south and east than even Jkatha, heavenonly knows what their original civil war was about.

Q: I am 67 tears old and have been reading science fiction since I was four. I have a personal sci-fi collection of nearly 1200 bokks and of all the characters in all the books I have read, Alberich comes very close to being my favorite.
He is a superbly constructed, very believeable and throughly admirable character. It would be a pleasure to meet him; it's a shame that is impossible.
I am glad to see Exile's Valor is scheduled. I would very much enjoy more books based uopn the Weaponsmaster. Any possibility of the happening?
Thank you for the many hours of enjoyment you have given me with your wonderful stories.
A: I think that although Alberich may appear in passing in other books, his run as a main character will be finished in EXILE'S VALOR.

Q: Hi Misty, I have been a fan of your Valdemar books for several year now (I own 18) and have read most of the book in the series, some several times just to get all the juicy details. And after the last time I read "Last Herald Mage" series I have several questions in regard to Falconsbane's reincarnations (which is by the way one of the most interesting villains I've come across), are ether of the mages Van meats in his life one of them. Krabian had cat like appearance which suggests Falconsbane, and Leareth is one of the names that Ad'desha uncovered in his memories. If ether of them where Falconsbane then how come he didn't know about Valdemar before and if they where not they what is the connection. A: Leareth was a Falconsbane reincarnation---and basically, after all that time coming back over and over again, since it was his downloads tended to get dropped data, so he lost lots of memories.

Q: In the Forest of Sorrows, Rolan challenged the Forest when it was about to swat Talia. Did Rolan know it was merely Yfandes or a Companion ghost? Or did Rolan challenge something it thought might actually overwhelm him? Since Sorrows has defended Valdemar from bandits and the north, is it possible that Rolan gave Sorrows its first non-trivial challenge in ages? A: Well, when you are dealing with ghosts, you are dealing in part with"recordings." If you think of the three spirits in Sorrows as being likeNeed, and not quite awake, you'll see that the Forest was reacting tosomething that appeared to be "same old, same old" and as a consequence,when Rolan challenged the Forest, it started the awakening process thatresulted in Van, Stef, and Yfandes being more "present."

Q: Dear Misty,I have been Reading your books since Highschool, Im 29 now;) I fell inlove with your writing with the Last Hearld mage series, and you havebeen my favorite author of all time ever since. I absolutely love your styleof writing, it is rich with metaphor and description and I really feel likeI'm living the story. I also love how you mix real world issues with abeautiful fantasy story line, I hope someday to write as well you do. Mymain question might be controversal, or been asked before but you havegotten so many questions I havent been able to read them all, so Iapologize in advance if this is a repeat. I was wondering what promptedyou to have your main hero Vanyel, in the Last herald mage series to begay?

I was wondering if this had any personal relevance to you, I knowyou have alot of gay fans now, And I count myself as one of them. I alsowanted to thank you, as your books offered me much comfort in findingmyself through vanyel's storyline during my younger years.

I also am veryhappy that you have found much deserved sucess in your career, and bestwishes to you and your Husband.

A: Actually, it happened more-or-less by accident. When I wrote the first book, ARROWS OF THE QUEEN, my editor wanted more magic---except, of course,that there was no "real" magic in Valdemar, only psionics ("Mind-Magic").But the editor insisted that it couldn't be a fantasy without "real" magic,so I had Talia reading about and daydreaming about someone---Vanyel---who'dhad "real" magic. It just happened that when I was writing about what shewas reading about, I mentioned his lover Stephan, which of course, meantthat he was gay---I didn't actually think about it at the time.

Then, when I decided, after the ARROWS trilogy and the two books about Tarmaand Kethry, to do some more Heralds books, it seemed reasonable to go "back"and show why there wasn't any "real" magic in Valdemar. Since Vanyel wasthe LAST Herald-Mage, well, that was obviously what I needed to write.

The conscious decision was to make him a troubled and exceedinglymisunderstood young man (then Herald) first, and only make his sexualpreferences as part of his character, rather than the focus of it. Even ifhe'd been straight, he'd never have gotten along with his father, andneither parent would have ever understood him.

Q: On to my question. I am a rabbit breeder, mainly to feed my family, and I plan to begin showing this year. I was wondering if you would beoffended if I based my naming system for show/breeding rabbits on the Valdemar books. A: Back in the day, I was thrilled when I heard that there was a racehorsenamed Gandalf (a grey, of course) out of Lothlorien Farms. I think having arabbitry named for my stuff would be neat!Escpecially since you dine on the culls and donate the pinkies to raptorrehab.

Q: Will there be a follow-up to all those hints about Kal'enel and Vkandis, and if so, when? I'm not a writer nor do I have any desire to become one. I'm very happy as an avid reader, especially of anything to do with Valdemar.
But I haven't even heard rumors about this and it's driving me crazy. It was just left hanging at the end of the Mage Storms trilogy.
A: I don't know; at this point, I've got stuff planned for about the next threeyears, and though some of it might work into Collegium Chronicles, I don'tknow for certain.

Q: I have a few questions about Alberich (he is such a lovely person!).

Why did you "retire" him when Kerowyn was Chosen? Judging by the length of time he was a Sunsguard cadet and then officer, I think he would have been 10-15 years older than Selenay, so he would have been at most about 55 at the start of the war with Hardorn. I just can not picture him sitting around doing nothing and tutoring Karel would not be that time-consuming!

Does he ever get out of Haven other than for the battle with the Tedrels and the first battle against Ancar? What was it that he did to see to it that Karse never got one grain of sand or bit of intelligence out of Valdemar after the Tedrel Wars?

Considering how nasty the Voices are, was any attempt made to get his mother out of Karse?

Does he get to meet Solaris and how does he help in the diplomacy to end the hostilities between Karse and Valdemar after Solaris becomes the Son of the Sun? Does he recognise her as the daughter spoken of by Kantis? Please let this be in some story!

I love all of your books and have no problem telling fact from fiction. You are the best! Can't wait for "Joust" but am even moreeager for "Exile's Valor."

A: Alberich is the most annoying and recalcitrant creature I have ever had towrite about. He insists on having everything his way, no matter what myeditor wants!

Why did I "retire" him? It ain't the years, my dear, it's the mileage.

He did get out of Karse and meet Solaris, and if the second DAW Valdemaranthology ever actually gets published, the story is in that.

He's too smart to try and prevent intelligence about Valdemar from gettingto Karse; instead, he does misdirection by sending contradictory"intelligence" until the Voices aren't sure what to believe.

No attempt was ever made to get his mother out, but his old teachers saw toit that in the confusion she got a new identity.

Q: first off i am a huge fan of the last herald-mage girlfriend got me to read it and now its one of my favorite sets of books thanx a bunch from both of us for writing them.

i had just one question its about the tayledras word "Ashke" i know it means beloved so thats my pet name for my girlfriend but i was wondering if you created it or if it origenated from somewhere else?

thanx again

A:As far as I know, I created it, although I won't discount subconscious influence from elsewhere.

Q: Dear Ms. Lackey
I recently finished reading Exile s Honor& I ve read quite a few other of your books and intended to read this one the way I usually read science fiction: for pure entertainment. But the story, maybe because of the dedication to NYC s fallen firefighters, really made me think. I saw a lot of parallels in the story with the events of Sept. 11, but I m not sure if they re coincidence and I m reading too much into the book, or if the parallels were intentional on your part.
These are the things I wanted to know after I read the book:
Exile s Honor came out in Oct. 2002 where were you in the process of writing it when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks took place? If you were already working on it, what (if anything) changed after the attacks?
There are passages in the book that could clearly be related to the U.S., such as Sendar s speech to the Heralds before they set off to the front (p. 286-7 - a rousing tribute to democracy and diversity). How intentional is that kind of parallel were the terrorist attacks on your mind when you wrote his speech? Other parallels I saw:
Selenay s refusal to sanction tracking down every single enemy that may have come into Valdemar (your comment on the government s profiling of Muslims? Or on our actions in Afghanistan?).
The way the people of Valdemar open their arms to the orphaned children could be seen as a parallel to the way people in the U.S. opened their hearts to New Yorkers after the attacks.
Karse has been the "evil empire" of the Valdemar books right from the start & was their brand of religious intolerance and oppression inspired by real-world events before Sept. 11?
There isn t a lot of action in the first part of the book after Alberich s escape from Karse and his acceptance of the Herald life, a lot of the plot is essentially his frustration at not being able to actively participate in the fight for his new country& Reflecting the impotence so many Americans felt after Sept. 11? We all did what we could?
For the most part, there seems to have been little comment on any parallels between Valdemar and the U.S. are you disappointed? Did you mean to send a message? Have you heard a lot of comments about this? Or am I reading way too much into this?
A: I took a while answering this because I wanted to do a really good answer.
I finished EXILE'S HONOR roughly around March/April of 2002, so the attacks of September 11---and their aftermath---had a great deal of influence on the book and the content. While the situation was not a parrallel---I'd established the Tedrel Wars as a concept as long ago as the very first Arrows book, as well as the fundamentalist nature of the Karsite theocracy---the emphasis on tolerance and diversity was a reaction to the knee-jerk climate after 9/11/2001. The Karsites and the Holderkin are essentially two of the same kinds of cultures---fundamentalist theocracies, which are the most intolerant, rigid, and repressive kind of government that there is, no matter what the religion. Initially, both the Holderkin and the Karsites represented not to the world of 9/11/2001, but the same sort of reaction to the very concept of incipient theocracy that spawned THE HANDMAID'S TALE back when Ronald Reagan was president.
The subplot of the "Tedrel children" was actually created in order to inject some hope and positivism into what was essentially a very dark and grim book.
And Alberich's reactions to his situation are entirely the result of Alberich's personality, which is a complicated one (although he would claim he is a very simple man). He has to reshape himself from someone who was relatively inflexible, to someone who can adapt without compromising his core values. And, of course, he has to identify just what those core values are, before he can fit the rest of his life around them.

Q: Misty, I was looking through at the timeline and I noticed a big gap of 472 years between Randale's rule and Arden and Leesa's rule. Are you going to fill in the rest of the gap or just leave it as it is? And are you going to write anything with Jisa and Treven? A: Ask me in a couple of years! At the moment I have a lot on my plate!

Q: First off let me say I love your Valdemar books and I own every single one, a few of them in hardcover!!! I can not wait for the rest of your books to come out and I pray that you will continue writing for a long time to come.
Anyway, I was just wondering are you ever going to write a book about Dirk and Talia's Son Jemme? Also, do you have any plans to write about Kris and Lyra?
Thank you for taking the time to answer and as always I will anticipate your next Valdemar books!!
A: I expect all the kids will show up, at least as cameos, in the Collegium Chronicles.

Q: The Eastern Empire is off the map in the Valdemar Companion. The countries in between Hardorn and the Empire are either independant or Imperial client-states. A: The Eastern Empire is off the map in the Valdemar Companion. The countries in between Hardorn and the Empire are either independant or Imperial client-states.

Q: I love your books and I have had to replace almost half of the ones I won because I read them so much. My question is about By the Sword. In By the Sword it is separated in to three sub-books (Kerowyn's Ride, Two EdgedBlade and The Price of Command). I was just wondering why you did that? Wasit originally supposed to be a trilogy like The Last Herald Mage trilogy orwas it originally intended as a single book like it is now? Thanks and Ilove your books more than any other author's. A: I separated it into three "books" because so much time passed between eachsection---just as I did with Exile's Honor.

Q: Hey Misty.

Just a quick gush before the actual question. I'm so glad that you produced these books, especially The Last Herald-Mage, my personal favourite. My DM and his wife got me to read Herald-Mage a few months ago, and bought me Exile's Honour for Christmas, so now that I own one I have to buy them all eventually, don't I?

Also, for drama class last year, we had to perform a dialogue, and Ichose the first pre-bedroom sequence between Tylendal (whom I fell in love with immediately) and Vanyel. My partner and I apparently put so much feeling into it, that we got the highest mark in the class from our teacher(who's a fan but has never read Last Herald-Mage *tsk tsk*). I wanted to thank you for that, as well. It gave me a great feeling to become my favourite character of literature for a little while.

As for the question, I just wanted to know what the 'Dazzle-Headaches'you refer to in Brightly Burning are? I realize that it's actually the extension of Lan's Gifts, but the Healer originally called them Dazzle-headaches. Did you get this idea from life, or is this a completely Valdemar-related adolescent phase?

Second question: Would you ever consider turning any of the books into movies or plays? I understand how difficult that would be for some,since a lot of the books are very 'internal-conflict-y'. But, hey, justthought

I'd ask, right?

Thanks for the answers, and the books.

Wind to thy Wings.

A: Heh. Glad you and your partner got a good grade out of that reading!"Dazzle-headaches" are migraines; I happen to have them myself so I haveintimate knowledge of how they can begin with a kind of sparkling fieldbetween you and the rest of the world....As for the movie question, the answer to that, and to how books get turnedinto movies, is up in the FAQ section.

Q: I have been reading your books since I was in 8th grade and just love them. My favorites are the Velgarth books. And I was just wondering why on all the time lines there is 193 years between King Randale and King Theran of Valdemar.

When reading Magic's Price there is an Heir. Why is he not listed??

Also in Arrows of the Queen Talia told Elspeth that there were 3 Queens named Elspeth and only one is listed. A: It's because the only people we've put in the timeline so far are those we've actually written about. Unilke Heinlein, who published this really long and involved "Future History" timeline where he outlined all sorts of stories and books he originally intended to write, then for one reason or another never did.

Q: Dear Misty,
ever since I happened across your books in my quest for good fantasy stories, I've been an avid fan! Your books are awesome and I particularly love your stories about Valdemar! At the moment I'm rereading the Winds trilogy for the umpteenth time and every time I stumbled across the reference to the hertasi's function, I've wondered about it. AfterFiresong is totally exhausted from converting the Heartstone into a Protogate, he says that he's summoned his hertasi and that they will help him. "Theyknow what to do. It's their ancient function." (Winds of Change, p. 400) Whatis the hertasi's old function???
By the way, thank you very much for taking the time to answer your fans' questions!!!
Z'hai helleva,
A: The hertasi's ancient function is Service with a capital "S". Everythingyou ever wanted in a servant, and then some!

Q: Dear Misty, I started reading your books last september, starting with your Valdemar books, specifically the mage wars and working my way up the historical order. I must say I've fallen in love with your books and have devoted a lot of time and energy into getting them from the library through ILL loans. I do find them a little complex, and was very greatful I had a guide to reading your Valdemar books, because it really helped understanding why things are and why they happened.

Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any sort of guide for your other books, nor can I find a list of the books that you have written. I see these other books at the library which are written by you and are not Valdemar books, and don't know if I should read them or not because they might be in the middle of a series or be something like the MageWinds series where I wouldn't really understand the history and such that I would get in the previous books. It is very confusing.

So that leads me to this question. Can you write up a list or point me to an existing list of all the books you have read, organized by world/series and recommended order of reading within the series? I have looked over the questions posted in your faq and have found no questions to reading this.

Thanks a lot for your time, 'tis much appreciated,

Wind to thy wings (I bet you're so tired of seeing that phrase),

Fantasy fanatic and aspiring author

A:The Bibliography section is up and running. Two of them in fact. One by pub. date, and the other by series. Can be reached from the homepage. Bravo, Teri!

There are several places to look.

First is the Chronology of Valdemar which has been up on the website for ages.This lists all the Valdemar books, both in order of publication, and in order according the the timeline of Valdemar.

The second place to look is in the Bibliography section. There are two, Bibliography by publication date, and Bibliography by series.

The special feature of this section is that each book is linked to a page that includes all sorts of information on the book. Cover art and synopsis. Where possible sample chapters. This is very much a work in progress, and may take some time to get everything up on the site. Sample chapters will of course depend on permission from the publishers.

And folks, it is the publishers choice whether or not to allow their work to be posted, not Misty's.


Q: Misty, I was looking through at the timeline and I noticed a big gap of 472 years between Randale's rule and Arden and Leesa's rule. Are you going to fill in the rest of the gap or just leave it as it is? And are you going to write anything with Jisa and Treven? A: It could happen. I prefer not to pin myself down to more than I already have under contract.

Q: I was just in the middle of re-reading Exiles Honor (which, is an excellent book, by the way. Not that you don't already hear that twenty times a day.......but regardless of that, I still felt proper respect was owed.) and I noticed something. I'm surprised I missed it the first time around, actually. Did you base the character Myste on yourself? She is a scribe, not given to overexertion or fighting. (I remeber you saying something like this about yourself in an intro to a Tarma and Kethry story; that you could never willing live the hard life of a merc as those two could.) She is unafraid to put down every embarassing detail about our favorite heros. But the dead giveaway was her name. Afterall, your friends call you by the nickname "Misty." Myste/Misty........very close. I remember when I first read this book, I thought "Cool, this character is a writer. Just the part I would love to play if such a world existed.." Yeah, I am one of the two million aspiring fantasy writers who also happens to be a fan. Don't worry; I won't badger you to read any of my outlines or anything. I'd much rather you stay focused on getting your next books out. But if you would take a moment to answer the above question, I would be ............well, somewhat flattered. I understand if its not important enough, but I'm just dying to know if I'm right on this one.

BTW, I find your books to be very inspiring, and uplifting. There was one saying in a Tarma and Kethry story that actually helped me out quite a bit last year. You see, I was about a month away from graduating highshool, and was very nervous about it. But I came across this particular quote in the book Oathbound; "Once the young hawk has broken the shell, it is not possible for it to go back into the egg; and once the young bird has discovered the sky, he will not willingly return to the nest." This may sound silly, but that quote reminded me that I really am ready--and capable--of leaving the proverbial nest. It helped with the transition a little bit.

Thank you for that. A: Well, if you can get hold of the DAW Anniversary Fantasy Anthology, you'll find out all about where Myste came from....

Or I just may have Teri post the short story on the web page!

There is now a new feature on the website: Short Fiction


Q: Hello Misty.

I have been a fan of the Valdemar series for several years now and I was wondering if you were planning on explaining how Iftel got it's barrier. I realize it was put up by Vkandis, but I've always wondered why.

That has been driving me crazy.

Thanks so much. A: Well, I expect I'll write it when I figure it out myself! Unlike Heinlein,who supposedly had a detailed 'future-history' outlined for all his booksand stories, I very often put things in that sound interesting, and then seewhat those ideas suggest to me later.

Q: First, thanks dear Lady for all the great books. Having struggled to maintain coherency while producing a ten page paper, I am utterly amazedat your ability to spin off so many entertaining and well writtin stories. Second, I am sorry to hear about your trouble with people who havebounced their reality check. I hope that your lives return to a semblence of normality soon and the people involved take a nice long vacation far, far away. Perferrable in a place featuring soft padded walls and extra long sleeved jackets.

Lastly, I applaud you for bringing positive gay charaters into yourwriting.

There are way too many negative stereotypes, and even fantasy charatershelp offset this. In light of this I was wondering, will you ever have a transgendered character?

Thanks again for all your wonderful stories, and thanks to Larry for his excellent illustrations. A: While I never say "never," the likelihood of a transgendered lead characteris so slim as to be invisible.

Here is why. I support myself with my writing; I do not have the luxury ofwriting books for special-interest audiences. In my limited experience, somuch of a transgendered person's life and thought is tied up in their genderdifficulties, the ordinary reader would swiftly become bored with such acharacter; even Vanyel's whinging grates on some peoples' nerves. A wideraudience wants to see a character with problems that are solvable; in amodern or sf context, a transgendered person could solve the situation withsurgery, genetic modification, body-swap, or whatever. Those options arenot available to a fantasy author.

As for minor characters, well...I already have used transgendered persons.Didn't you notice?

Q: In ordinary circumstances, how does the relationship between the Monarch's Own and the new monarch develop when the old Monarch passes away?
I mean "ordinary" as opposed to the situation between Talamir and Selenay, when Talamir and Selenay couldn't get comfortable with each other to trust, gossip with, etc., which led to Selenay marrying Elspeth's father. (This actually seems ordinary to me.)
A: It often is the case that the Monarch's Own and the Monarch are about thesame age, and there is a fairly smooth transition--the Monarch's Own-To-Beis a good friend to the Heir and is already comfortable with him or her whenthe Monarch's Own dies and the new one is Chosen.
It often is the case that the Monarch's Own is a lot like a mother- orfather-figure to the Monarch, or perhaps more like a trusted aunt or uncle,which makes things more comfortable between them.
Talamir's difficulty is that he is not entirely focused in the real worldanymore, and misses things that someone who had not been so profoundlyshocked to the core would have picked up on.

Q:After the Artificers helped with the new storms, are you going to create an Artificer's Collegium (a sort of "Valdemar Institute of Technology")? It seems unfair to keep them as second-class citizens in the form of unaffiliates A: Well, in the past, there have not been enough Artificers to create aseparate Collegium for them. In the far past, there weren't even separateCollegia for Healers, Heralds, and Bards, so I suppose it's not out of thequestion for Artificers to get their own, eventually, or for theunaffiliated students to get their own private school.

Q: How much did Vanyel and Stef know as ghosts up in the Forest of Sorrows? For example, did Vanyel know that his Aunt Savil and Sayvel were the same (um) entity? In "Winds of Fury," Vanyel refers to both of them in different contexts. A: They tend to know about things that are within their sphere of influence,but not as much about things that are distant from the Forest.

Q: To begin with, I'd like to thank you for choosing to answer my previous question about Iftel. ::grins:: It really made my day to see it posted on the website. The next topic rattling around in my brain concerns twins. So many authors tend to write twins as good-twin-evil-twin, and seeing you treat them as you do in your books is refreshing. I'm eager to see how Selany's twins turn out. My question is a little (okay completely) on the hypothetical side. Have there been twin companions in the books? If so, were they identical twins or fraternal? I'm just curious, considering I belong to the former categoryAlso, could you please clarify something for me? Do companions remember their previous lives? If so, do they remember just the ones where they were companions, or all of them? I know when they are humans, they do not remember, because Karal had to remind himself that Florian wouldn't remember him next time around. ::lol:: And that was such a clever tease! A: I haven't done anything with twin Companions at all that I can think of, and it hadn't occurred to me. Let's just say I'll keep that as a possibility. Companions remember their previous lives, Heralds do not. The implication is that Florian will return, not as a Companion, but as a Herald, and so won't remember Karal

Q: I found your griffon series - isn't it, like, Mage Wars or something? - in a used book store for half the cover price, and bought them up, along with the book Oathbound. I read the griffon books in about a week, unable to put them down. I was so HAPPY to find them - nobody ever writes about griffons, especially as main characters. Skandranon, by the way, is the coolest griffon ever! And Larry's pictures are so awesome.

I just have one question: What do all those other creatures that Urtho created? The tervardri and the kyree, I mean. The only explanation I could find was that the kyree were "wolflike." And I know it's not really VITALLY IMPORTANT to know what they look like, but I'm just curious. I would greatly appreciate it if you could reply and tell me what those critters look like!


A: Well, you were lucky to find the books in a used bookstore; most people tend to keep their copies!

Anyone who knows Larry will tell you that there's quite a bit of him in Skandranon, too.

Now, the kyree have rather blunt, wolf-like heads and bodies like a cheetah, with tails and coats like wolves.
The tervardi are humanoid birds, complete with feathers, though they are based on songbird rather than raptors. They can be found in many colors and color-patterns.

Q: Hello Misty - I was just wanting to ask what you recommend for reading your books as I have just discovered them - in historical order or does it not matter? I just picked up Take A Thief and really enjoyed it. Couldn't believe how many books you have out there! Then I couldn't believe people are taking it all to heart and sending you death threats and asking you to start a church. Oh well, they make the world go round I guess. Thanks. A: Heh. In regards to starting a church, I'm afraid that between us, charismatic Larry and my writing, we could probably give some other "churches" a run for their money! We have to keep telling ourselves "I will use my powers only for good!"

Insofar as the order, I don't really know that it matters, to tell you the truth; the oldest books may be a bit "young-adult," but there's nothing wrong with that. I would definitely read first the "Winds" and then the "Storms" books in that order, though, since I think you'd probably be a bit lost if you got them out of order.


Q: I think my favorite character, or one of them at least aside from Talia and also Tarma is Weaponsmaster Alberich. I just love him. :) He's such a great character. I know that a book about him is in progress (and I'm waiting eagerly) but I have to ask: what is the man's last name? A: He doesn't have one. In Karse, that's one of the marks of a bastard; if thefather doesn't acknowledge him, he has no last name.

Q: I am an avid reader, and have been reading your books since I was 9 (being 14 now), I just love your books, and can never get enough of them. My mom is the same way. She calls it an addiction. I could never realize why she would call it an addiction until I began reading them. Now I totally agree with her. I have a couple of quick questions if you don t mind. I just got done re-reading To Take a Thief and was wondering if you were going to do a squeal to that. I love Skif, along with all of the other characters of your other books, and was wondering what happened to him, after he was chosen. I think in your arrows books you mentioned that Skif went out with one of the other main characters on a Herald internship. (I don t remember what it was called and don t have the books handy at the moment). I just wanted to know what happened between the time that you left off in Take a Thief and that point, and if you were going to go into more detail about him. I love your books. I often get into trouble for not completing my homework because I was tied up under the covers reading your books.

Also I was have been going to a school and my major being literary arts (it s a high school called CAPA in Pittsburgh PA) and they are teaching us to write fiction and other forms of writing. The problem being with fiction is that they are teaching us non-genera fiction (or as they call it literary fiction) and was wondering if you had to go through that. Being a fantasy reader, I can never come up with ideas to write literary fiction.

And lastly (A special question from my mother), would you ever consider doing a book signing in Pittsburgh, and maybe a Q&A session as well. I know a lot of fans would really like it. I know I would enjoy meeting you, and having you answer questions personally.

A: If you mean the stuff about Skif between the end of TAKE A THIEF and when he and Elspeth go looking for some magical help in WINDS OF FATE, WINDS OF CHANGE and WINDS OF FURY, I wasn't planning on it. However, if you haven't read the WINDS books yet, you'll find a great deal about Skif in them.

Q: A quick note of thanks and one question for you. First the thanks.

A friend of mine let me borrow the Owl Knight trilogy a few years ago and many woderful hours of reading later, I own most of your books published to date. During my recent deployment to Saudi Arabia. The entire Valdemar series was included in my packs. My job comes with bouts of mad rushes and complete boredom. Reading the Valdemar series(for about the fourth time) helped to pass the slow hours away. Now for my question. I have noticed on your upcoming books list and in the FAQ page that you seem to be working on filling in the gaps in Valdemar history. I was a long time fan of Piers Anthony's Xanth series and liked the way that he kept the timeline moving in a forward direction. Do you anticipate doing any novels/trilogies that continue on where Owl Knight left off?

Either way any new books will be added to the collection( I hate not having a complete series so you can count on at least one sale). Thank You again.

A: Hey, Jason!

I'm glad that we're able to fill in the long hours of nothingthat is the reality of a deployment---as has been often said, "thirtyminutes of terror followed by a month of inactivity."

At the moment, Larry is up to his eyeballs in art projects, several coversand a lot of game-book work, but as soon as he's got some time free, weintend to follow up both the Owl books and to restart the SERRAted Edgebooks. Meanwhile, as you can see, I'm filling in backstory on my soloworks.

Q: I just want to let you know I love all your stories. I am reading your Owl series for the first time. I have read Owlflight and Owlsight and am now working on Owlknight. These are all awesome so far and I really like the Hawkbrothers. I was wondering how you came up with the idea of Bondbirds? I really like them and think they are neat characters.

Thanks A: Ah, the bondbirds!

Well, I love raptors, but as a rehabber, I am only toowell aware that they aren't the brightest bulbs in the box---amazinghunters, but most of what they do is hardwired, and a huge amount of theirbrain is devoted to visual cortex. So I wondered what a raptor would belike if it was as social and smart as a parrot, and added the telepathicbond just for good measure.

Q: Hey Misty! I'm a fan of your kyree, and I had a few questions concerningthe species:
1) How long do kyree live? Does their lifespan exceed that of humans?
2) When Tarma and Kethry died at their ripe old age, did Warrl die too because he was bound to Tarma? Did they all die together because theywere interbound?
3) Rris is cool. Just stating a fact.
Thanks, and may your life be uninteresting!
A: Kyree live about as long as huimans; as for when everybody died, well, Ihaven't thought about that, and actually I prefer not to.

Q: I'm 13 and I am a new fan. I began reading Queens Own since then I have completed the Mage Winds Books the The Storm Books Take a Thief and By the Sword. I totally love your books but I was wondering if you were ever going to write about Kris and Dirk or Skif and Nyara. I am also wondering how you got your ideas they are awesome. Please write back i would like very much to hear from you. A: Ideas come from asking questions---what if there were elves in the real world? What would they be doing? Why would they be doing it? When you look at the world and ask not only why but why not? that is where ideas come from. You'll find that generating them is a skill like any other, you get better at it the more you do it.

Q: First I want to say that I love any book about Valdemar. Second, I LOVE Vanyel (I'm rereading the last herald mage trilogies again. the only other book I've read this much is "Child of Farie, Child of Earth" by Josepha Sherman). He has got to be my most favorite character out of any book I've ever read. Related to him I have this question... why did you make him homosexual? I don't see why he couldn't have been straight. I mean, you would have had to make Tylendel and Steff girls, but other than that, I don't see how it would have affected the story. Does it have any major influence on any novels you plan to write?
I would also like to add it bothered me the way Karal(from mage storms trilogy) didn't seem comfortable with Vanyel(I mean I know Vanyel was a "ghost" but still, I think Karal had seen stranger things). I liked Karal a lot less after that, particularly because of the way it seemed to upset Vanyel. I would love to read more about Vanyel.
Thanks Lots!
A: Because I had already said Vanyel was gay in the first chapter of Arrows of the Queen. Little hard to go back and undo that.
As for how Karal reacted...well, for centuries Herald-Mage Vanyel was one of his country's worst enemy's ever. Kids had been scared into being good "Or Vanyel will get you." Just because Solaris has come in and said, "no, that was all wrong" isn't going to change people's immediate gut-level reactions to him. Imagine how you would feel if you were confronted with the ghost of Atilla the Hun or Genghis Khan. No matter who told you that these guys were okay and everything bad you'd ever heard about them was wrong, your insides would still be screaming that they ate babies for breakfast.

Q: All of a sudden people have started asking about how Talia got to be a priestess of the sun in Karse. Why this is such a burning question rightnow is beyond me. I know there's a story up in the BAEN Bar on how this came about. What's the chance of putting this up on the Firebird site?
Or is this part of a future publication and can't be posted? I've been referring them back to the FAQ segment on Valdemar.
A: The story has aged off the Bar and I only put it up there because of 9/11 to give people something else to think about; I think that they can manage towait the couple of months for it to take for the anthology to come out.Spring, is my guess.

Q: 1.) Was Diana's editor named Martin after the infamous Martin Greenburg?
2.)Are you ever going to explain the whole pre-cataclysm thing?
3.)What ever happened to Mr. You-knew-my-famous-cousin-Warrl?
4.)For that matter, how do you pronounce Warrl? Do you roll the 'r' or not? And Skandranon? My mother and I have been arguing about it since I read Vows and Honors and the Black Gryphon.
And last but not least, 5.) This is a silly question, but it just shows up in your responses too much for me to resist. Is there anyone in the books who doesn't end up in Bermuda?
*laughs* Well, of course, what Misty question would be complete without the "YOU ARE THE BEST WRITER IN THE WORLD" speech? Hahahahah! Actually, you are my idol. I didn't start writing or realize I had the talent for it until I read your work. It would seem I have a natural talent I didn't know what there until I started reading your books. SO thank you for your inspiration. One last thing. In Jinx High, when Diana said all that stuff about writing like not believing in 'Writers Block,' where those your personal feelings too?
A: 1.) Yes indeed, he was.We love Marty!
2.) We would very much like to get back to that---I'm assuming you're talking about the Bardic Voices universe?
3.) Rris is the kyree historian-in-residence at Haven.
4.) Warrl is pronounced War-url with a rolled but gutteral 'r'. Skandranon is with short 'a's and 'on' as in 'on and off.'
5.) Bermuda is my idea of heaven so everybody ends up there unless they go to one of the nine hells or gets recycled.
Yeah, because in a normal, non-crisis situation, 'Writer's Block' is either your subconscious telling you that the plot as planned isn't working, or telling you to take a rest from that particular plot. The only time I've ever had trouble writing was when we were fighting the insurance company over the fire in Larry's studio.

Q: hello, I am rereading "The Last Herald Mage" trilogy, and I have noticed a few interesting detailes (esecially since I read "Lord of the Rings" right before that). Krebain, the evil mage that Vanyel kills at the end of the first book reminded me a lot of the evil birds (the crebain) from "LotR" and there was a companion named "Rohan" (like those kingdom of the horse lords) in the third book. And so I was wondering if you conciously slipped those in. =) I should add that you are a wonderufl writer, and that it helped me a great deal to learn english by reading your books (what better way to learn that to do so by having fun, eh?) *grins* good luck in your upcomming projects (which i hope will come *very* soon) =) A: I did have the "crebain" in mind for the villain of the last book, however,I believe you've misread "Rohan" for "Rolan."

Q: I am a huge fan. I picked up Arrows of the Queen when it first came out. I guess because Talia was my first introduction to the Valdemar, she has always been my favorite. What I was wondering is if you have ever thought about writing more about her, (Maybe not as the main character, although, I'd really love that), but maybe as a secondary character. I must admit, that I have wondered about her more than once and her story just doesn't feel as though it is done. I guess that is a sign of great writing, leaving the readers wanting more. Well anyway, I just want you to know that I have always enjoyed your work and look forward to reading future books. Thanks. A: Talia will certainly be making cameos in the Collegium Chronicles. You'll get to see her as an exasperated mother....

Q: First, I would like to say that I am a huge fan of your books, especialy the earlier ones. I have one question. In the Magic series, you mention that vanyel has four children: Jisa, Brightstar and his twin, and a child going to lissa's shaych guards. do any of the fourth chhild's ancestors come into play in the later books? Thanks very much for reading this! A: Once again, the answer to this question is "I don't know yet." Unlike Heinlein, I didn't map out the entire 'history' of what I planned to do before I started writing the first books.

Q: where did you get the name Tannim? A: I didn't---it was Larry's idea. I think it might have been one of his old RPG characters.

Q: Hi. First of all, I love your books so much!! And so do do all of my friends. Anyways, when Vanyel and Stephen are ghosties in the Forest of Sorrows, does Stephen have all of Tylendel's memories? Does he know he is Tylendal at all? Thanks! A: He has all of Tylendel's memories, but as "Tylendel" he only has about 16 years, and as "Stefan" he has almost 70, so at that point he's mostly"Stefan."

Q:First of all, before I start rambling on about true magic in Valdemar, I would just like to say that I love all your books, even if I ve only read&..11, I think.=) I m eleven years old and live in CA, holed up at my pc or snuggled up in bed with a book most of the time.
Ok, so I know that Van was the last Herald-Mage, but I just have to make sure. My question is: We know because of the Arrows books immigrants are not outlawed, or else there would be no deceiving nurse to turn Elspeth into the Brat, and we also know from Keth that true magic still exists outside of Valdemar. So if immigrants came with a mage-gift, and had kids(in Valdemar) that have mage-gift, then why were there no other Herald-mages? I mean, one of the littles has to get chosen if they have mage-gift and the right personality, right? Or did the Sun god curse those families to never be nice? Hehehehehe. Oh well.
I read your The Last Straw article, and I thought that some people must really be in a down part of their life for them to actually believe in any of that. *Shudder*
What did&erm&Mardi and Donni, I think their names were, do before they were killed, but after they saved Vanyel? And why, why, oh why did they have to die?! They were my favorite characters!
How s the weather in Bermuda about this time of year?
Are you British? All the good authors seem to be
You rock, You rock, You rock soooo so much,
A: After Van died, there were people born with Mage-Gift, but there was no longer anyone left in Valdemar who could recognize it or teach it. It got mistaken for Farsight or some other similar Gift.
Insofar as the rest of the Herald-Mages of Van's time go...well, it just seems as if it would be entirely too depressing to write about them as I killed them off one at a time.
The weather in Bermuda is excellent any time of year (g).
I'm not British, although I am very fond of the UK. I was born in Chicago, raised in Northern Indiana, and live in Oklahoma. However, many of my favorite authors are British, so perhaps over the years I've picked up something of a British flavor that comes out in my writing. I adore J.K. Rowling, of course, and J.R.R. Tolkien, and C.S. Lewis, but my absolutely favorite British author is Dorothy L. Sayers, who wrote the Peter Wimsey mysteries. If you haven't discovered Andre Norton's books, do try them, I think you'll like them.
Thanks for all the compliments, Andrew! I used to spend most of my time holed up with books as well---if there had been home computers when I was growing up, I just know that I would have been addicted to them!

Q: I am 55 years old and have been an avid fan since the first issue of your Valdemar series. I have often wondered when you would write about the founding of the country. You have mentioned how it was founded inseveral of your books, but I feel it would merit a book (or more) on the trials that led up to the "King" leading his people and founding Valdemar.Also, the start of the whole Companion set up in the country could beelaborated. A: This is one of those cases where the legends are generally better than thereality. I probably won't write about those early years directly, for thatreason.

Q: Shalom, I am a 15 year old and I've been reading your books since about 6th grade. I know i've already said this I'm just paranoid. Well one day as I was wandering around semi-aimlessy I found this rumour that you'd written a book titled OathBlinded and in Oathblinded Kethry turns out to be a V'kandis and leaves to go repopulate Tale'sedrin with Kal'enel. Before she leaves she turns Tarma into man, to keep Jadrek company. Apparently there is also a Jadrek and sheep scene. Please say it isn't so. Jadrek's my favorite character and I couldn't stand the thought.
Z'hai halleva.
A: There are always idiotic rumors going around, but this one is rather too stupid to even be amusing. I did at one time plan to write a book called OathBlinded, the plot of which was to involve the students at Tarma and Kethry's school, and the futility of revenge. I haven't yet done so, and though the option is always open, my schedule's a bit crowded to write it for the next couple of years. Frankly, if this is more than merely a rumor, this sounds as if someone took that title and wrote a fanfiction novel with that particular plot---someone who didn't bother to check what was canonical before haring off with his or her own silly idea. It sounds like an appallingly bad story, if so; one that not even excellent writing could possibly redeem.

This, by the way, is one reason why my agent hates fanfiction.

Q: Question on Language Novel:

I just want to say that I own and have read every one of your books even the new Exile's Honor, and Take a Theif. I am also looking foward to Exile's Valor. While theses are all great books that, that are all my favorite of the fantasy world, I WAS WONDERING IF YOU PLAN ON PUBLISHING A BOOK ON HOW TO LEARN TO SPEAK TAYLANDRES? Tolkein did this for a few languages and no offense he is a great writter and all but he is predictable, and too discriptive. In my opinion you should be the one with movies in the theater. Thank you for answering my question and I hope you consider writting a book on the language if you havent dont do yet A: Heh. While this is an amusing idea, and I thank you for the confidence, there are several inescapable problems with it.

First and formost is that am not a linguist. Tolkien was a PhD philologist and was familiar with a multitude of languages, as well as having spent considerable time in creating the several languages of Middle Earth. To put it simply, I'm a biologist, and I just put together a few phrases that sound right and follow a few simple grammatical rules.

Secondly, if I spent as much time doing that as Tolkien did on creating Quenya alone, no new fiction would be written for at least a year. This would make 99.9% of the other fans unhappy, and my publishers VERY unhappy.

Thirdly, my publishers are in the publishing business to make money, and sell more books than the last time. This book would sell to fewer people than the VALDEMAR COMPANION did, and it was something of an uphill battle to interest them in that (it took roughly five years to convince them). And while I could indeed publish it through Firebird, this would make my publishers even MORE unhappy that I had spent all that time on a "special interest publication."

Tolkien was a genius who set the bar for the rest of us, but he was also a career academic at Oxford before the days of "publish or perish" who had a lot of time over the course of his sixty or so years of writing to devote to his philological hobby.

Short form: not going to happen, sorry. But thanks anyway, and I certainly am glad you like the books enough to want it!


Q: I wanted to tell you that I have read almost all of your Valdemar novels. (I actually own them all as well, I just haven't had the time to read them) Your my most favorite author. I just recently purchased Exile's Honor. I thought it was very, very good. (I also have Take A Thief) I was wondering if there would be any more Valdemar books soon, or what you had plans for. I can't wait to read more of your books! A: At the moment the next up will be "Exile's Valor," which will take up where "Exile's Honor" left off.

Q:Dear Misty,
Thank you for creating such a wonderful place as Valedemar. Whenever things get tough or I just need a break, I pick up one of your books and escape to the world of Companions and Heralds !!! I have enjoyed them all. The characters just come alive. I have read them hundreds of times over the years and everytime it is like coming home to old friends !!! Vanyel has always been my favorite and I am wondering if you plan on writing more about him? I am anxiously awaiting the next Valdemar story !!!
Wind to thy Wings
A: I haven't got any plans to do anything more with Vanyel at the moment, and thank you!

Q: Just a couple of quick questions. One, the guy on the cover of the Valdemar Companion is Van, right? Huge debate between me and a few friends A: That is, indeed, a brand new Jodi Lee picture of Vanyel in his prime.

Q: Are Herald Myste and Albrech an item???? If so way to go. If not, why not?? A: Of course they are! What, me miss a chance for a romance?

Q: I'm sure You get this all the time but you're on of my favorite authors. I just finished Exile's Honor and I was wondering if Alberich's grammer was that bad in The Herald's of Valdemar Trilogy? I would also like to know if you're ever going to write a book with the main character as a bard or a healer? A: Alberich's grammar improves with time, as is the case with most people living in a foreign (to them) country for many years. I don't have any plans for a main character of a Valdemaran Bard or Healer, but the Bardic Voices books do concentrate on Bards in a different "universe." >

Q: I have been a fan of yours ever since I read Sacred Ground (which I've read several times). I'm Native American and have a college degree in Law Enforcement and have worked in repatriation, so I found myself identitying with much of the story.

Next I discovered the Heralds of Valdemar Series which I can't put down. Elvenbane and Elvenblood were good and Bardic Voices excellent, though I have only read the first book. Now I'm reading "Take A Thief." However, I have a problem. I believe that I read in the Heralds of Valdemar Trilogy that Skif was raised by an old drunken woman on the streets of Haven, not by his miserable Uncle Londer or the kind Bazie.

Since I feel like all these characters are family, it comes as such a disappointment that you can't keep the lives of your characters straight. Any comment?

A: Well, Skif's story is always subject to change, depending on who Skif wants to influence and why. He never does get over his habit of concocting tall tales to see who will "bite."

Q: Dear Ms. Lackey, I have a couple of questions regarding Tarma and Kethry,
1. Exactly which hand is the scar from the oath of she'endra on, I've found four references - two for the right, two for the left.
2. When you say Warrl has the body of a "grass-cat" are we talking closer to lynx, bobcat, cheetah, lion, or something else?
That's all I can think of for now. I may come up with more, I'm working on a little hobby project and these details would really help. Thanks.
A: Heh. That inconsistency just proves I don't get all my facts straight!
Choose whichever hand you like.
As for the "body of a grass-cat," we're talking about a cheetah, here.Kyree are closest to cheetahs in everything but the the head and the fur.
Have fun with your project!

Q: Hi. I cannot express enough how much I love your books. I am constantly amazed at the adventures your characters take on just to better their country and the people they serve. I was wondering whether or not you have thought about the idea of writing about Selenay. She sounds like a strong character and I would love to read about her story. Thank you for your time. A: There's going to be more about her in EXILE'S VALOR. >

Q: I just recently started my third bout with college and am studying ASL (american sign language) this time around. Just finished reading "Exile's Honor" and noticed something amusing... Don't know if this was intentional or not... But do you realize that Alberich basically speaks in ASL??? I thought that was rather neat!
Keep writing! It gives us addicts something to do without wearing out our older Valdemar volumes!!!
A: Heh. Alberich speaks in something like Germanic syntax. "The German plunges into a sea of rhetoric and emerges on the other side with a verb in his mouth." (Mark Twain)

Or Yoda "Backward teach you to speak will I"
Unsolicited commentary from Firebird.

Q: :) I was wondering, very few writers have gryphon characters, fewer still give them the intelligence they deserve. What made you think of gryphon's for your books? Why as intelligent beings?

Your books and ideas have shaped the image of the modern gryphon, making them more then myth and making more Real. You truly are a wonderful writer and I hope you write more about those lovable vain birds in the future.

By The Way... i hope if you haven't been to the "Gryphon's Guild" ( that when you get some free time (if you ever?) you will check it out. (it's where the gryphon fanatics call home)

A: Well, bringing the gryphons "on stage" as characters was largely due to Larry, and he's the one who was the most responsible for their character. I'm not sure if there's a lot of Larry in the gryphons, or a lot of the gryphons in Larry! I suspect that he really liked the idea of anything similar to a bird of prey being an intelligent, articulate character. And besides, everybody was doing dragons!

Q:Dear Ms. Lackey, I am a 14 year old and I am a very big fan of your books, and I very much appreciate all the time and energy that you put into writing all of these books (and I personally think you will beat Isaac Asimov's record.) Whenever I am down, or have troubles that are really bothering me, I can always look to your books to temporarily take me away from the real world to forget my difficulties for a while. For that, I thank you deeply. I am not a weirdo that takes the religions from your books and worships them in the real world. I know better than that, but I still look to your books for comfort. Thank you.

Now, to the questions that I have. In Storm Warning, when Karal is reading the journal, the journal mentions that Vkandis Sunlord and Kal'enel were consorts. My question is whether you will elaborate on that in the future? That would be very interesting to hear about those two, although I doubt there wi! ll be a whole book devoted to just that cause. I am questioned by this because I noticed their relationships. Kal'enel is called the Stareyed, and Vkandis' full name is Vkandis Sunlord and is represented by the golden sun that all the Karsite priests/priestesses wear.

My second question is if you are going to create any new trilogies for Valdemar, and what might your ideas be? (Please excuse me if I am being a bit nosy and asking for things you havn't even thought of yet, but being a teenager, I am impatient and always curious.)

Those are all the questions that I have now, but I must add one more thing refering to "The Last Straw" article that you wrote. I am personally deeply disturbed by what people have done to you, your husband, and your friends. It must be horrible for you, and I am angered that this would ever happen, because it shouldn't happen at all. People need to realise that this is not a book, when everything will be just the way it was before you bega! n reading. If certain people cannot grasp this concept, then they should not be reading fantasy, or any type of bok whatsoever. I am very sorry for what has happened, and I respect you for being strong in this situation. Again, I really appreciate everything that you have done and written (you should see me when I go to Barnes and Noble, I find your Valdemar books, sit down, and arrange them in chronological order. People just look and stare...) and I look forward to more things in the future.

Z'hai helleva!

A: Well, we have always preferred to create fictional worlds that have room for a lot more elaboration "later," and so we have the habit of leaving lots of open-ended questions in anything we write. Since this is basically the way that the real world is, maybe that's why some people mistake our fiction for reality. But in any event, that's what the business with Karal is, a question that gives us a starting-point for something else, some time down the road.

Right now, the next Valdemar book will be the continuation of Alberich's story, EXILE'S VALOR. After that, we'll have something about students in the three Collegia, called "The Collegium Chronicles."


Q: Just recently found your website.

Love your Valdemar writtings, slowly buying up the series. Think it is wonderful that Oklahoma has produced a (inter)nationally known author!

Question: are there any plans on a story covering the founding of Valdemar? Seems like a big gap in time between the Mage Wars and the Last Herald Mage books.

A: Oklahoma produced a set of internationally known authors a long time ago!

Will Rogers, Lynn Riggs (who wrote many, many plays, including "Green Grow the Lilacs," which was the basis for the musical "Oklahoma"), famous sf author Ray Lafferty, famous sf author CJ Cherryh, famous young-adult author S.E. Hinton, famous historian Michael Wallis, famous mystery writer Jean Hagger, gosh, I could go on for pages. Not only am I not the first, I am nowhere near the most well-known!

Q: Just wanted to say thanks and great work from fans in Canada.
The 'thanks' is an important one. My Dad, who in all other ways was a wonderful, funny, sweet man who said he hated all bigotry....except was VERY anti-gay. So i grew up with alot of BAD ideas about homosexuals. Until i read the Last Herald series as a teen (boy, THAT was a while ago!) and discovered that GASP! they are just people. Its not about sex, but love! And more love is something this world needs! As an adult im glad i have my own opinions, but im sure glad that you helped re-form that one. Im a more tolerant person because of you and your writing, (with some gay and lesbian friends, i may add) and please remember that when some looney stalker is writing nastys.
OK, more pleasant things...Are you planning to write books about the Valdemar founding? My husband and I are begging you! My husband also wants to know how old Albrech (spelling?) is too.
PS also some of my best sculpting work came out of reading the Griffon series, and now i have some lovely Skandranon bookends! (Id love to send you some, but the cost of mailing bronze or even plaster is more than i can handle!)
Thanks again, Happy Writing
A: Thanks to you; you let me know that I'm doing my job right.
At the moment, I've got about three to four years of Valdemar stuff ahead of me; we'll see what comes up when I've written out the Collegium Chronicles. Alberich is in his mid 20s when he is Chosen, so you can probably work out how old he is from there. But, as Larry says, "It ain't the years, it's the mileage!"

Q: I have a question for you, Misty. This has probably been answered a million times, so if you have answered, I am very sorry for theinconveience. I was just wondering if there is a Tayledras-English dictionary available to the public. I think that it is a beautiful language, and it should be able to be studied. If there is one, please tell me. I know thay there is one of the Shin'a'in language in the back of one of the books. So maybe you could do this with Tayledras? Thanks for your time. A: There's not a dictionary as such, but there will probably be a glossary incorporated into the new "Herald's Companion" coming out in December fromDAW Books.

Q: Here's a generic answer to several question that have come in about older characters. A: Some thoughts about favorite old characters:Tarma, Kethry, and Savil are all old favorites of a lot of people, and I cancertainly understand about wanting to see more of them. But if you'll lookat my schedule for the next year (and more!) you'll realize that I've got myplate pretty full as it is with books that have been contracted for. I'mnot doing a lot of short stories anymore, partly because my brain is pretty"full" of plotting for the books, and my time is taken up with writing them.I suspect we're all used to the kind of frenetic writing that produces TVepisodes, and get impatient when nothing new comes out every week! But whateverybody forgets is that there are about a dozen writers behind every TVshow, and only one of me.Basically, what this means is that when the overwhelming inspirationstrikes, I'll gladly do more stories about these characters, but right now,I'm up to my eyebrows in work! >

Q: I recently finished Take A Thief, and loved it!!! I have heard rumors about a new book called Honor Among Thieves that also revolves around Skif. I was wondering if you could post some information about the book and an approxament release date i.e. your still working on it or you haven't started yet or it's getting ready to be released. Thanks a lot! A: Sorry about that; never heard of it!
Sounds like another fan-novel out there somewhere. >

Q: I wanted to thank you for bringing scientist and engineers into your Mage Storm Trilogy. As a scientist, I was delighted! What inspired you to create those characters? A: I have the highest respect for scientists and engineers---and all too oftenthe answers to problems in fantasy books rely solely on "magicking your wayout," instead of "reasoning your way out." You'll notice, I hope, that inour books, once you accept the proposition that there is an energy source("Magic") that can be manipulated to get physical effects, that the magicobeys most of the laws of real-world physics! >

Q: I just finished the winds serious, And I really enjoyed them all. looking back a ways I'm now re-reading the Mage Wars serious and I just have one question: In the winds serious Firesong is effected by the storms in ways that make him angrey and he loses controll of his powers. Is that the sae thing that happened to Hadanelith? was he also effected by the mage storms in a way that drove his to violence or is that just me speculating? A: As a matter of fact, that was part of it. The rest of it was that he was asadistic beast. >

Q: Heyla, Misty. I've been wondering about a couple of things for a while now, so I decided I'd ask about them and see if I could get an answer?
First: I think someone asked something similar to this; they asked if you were ever going to write any books dealing with the founding ofValedemar, I believe... But I was wondering if we'll ever see a book dealing with some of the early Heralds, like Sunsinger, Shadowdancer, and Windrider. I remember Talia is reading a book about them at some point in the Arrows trilogy...any chance we'll ever get to read that book?

Second: I really liked how some of the later books have the black and white pictures of the characters in them, such as the Gryphons series,and the Winds series too. It's Larry who draws the pictures right? Well, Iwas wondering if there will ever be any pictures drawn of the characters from some of the earlier books, such as Vanyel and company. Also, why weren't there any pictures in Take a Theif? For some reason, I was thinking there would be...

Thank you for reading and (hopefully) answering. I just want to say on a parting note that I absolutely adore all your books and characters and I can't wait for more!

A: believe people have asked about Sunsinger, etc before; the answer is thatthese stories are much better as songs than they would be as stories.

Although Larry hasn't done any pictures of characters from the earlierbooks, this, of course, doesn't mean that many fans haven't drawn there own,and there are a lot of them online. He has been pursuing a number ofprojects on his own, which is why he didn't have time to do art for the lastfew books. >

Q: Dear Mercedes,
I have enjoyed your books since the first Arrows, and I am delighted to have at last the story of Alberich (he is one of my favourites despite him staying in the background).

One question drives me crazy since the beginning, how long is a candlemark ? Sometimes it seems barely a quarter hour, sometimes an hour. I would think an hour but could you confirm ?

Many thanks for the many hours of enjoyement you've given me. I'm currently running through my second batch of your books. I read them often enough that the first batch has finally fallen to pieces (when it's not fallen in the bath, mud, under the rain...)

A: Why, thank you very much! A candlemark is roughly an hour, but as we all know, time flies when you're having fun! >

Q: I've read most of the Valdemar books and had these thoughts bubbling around. Since then, some of the fanfics I've seen have promted the complete thoughts.
Is written/spoken Valdemarian indistinguishable from English? Some fics have gone either way on this. (Then again, your lyrics would not exactly ryme properly within the setting if so.. ;)
If someone is chosen as an adult (20 on up), do they have to go through the same lengthy schooling as the small fry, aside from the required chores/training? Or, are they allowed to skip what they prove they know? Beyond that, are they housed in the Collegum, or in the single Heraldswing?
A: If Valdemaran wasn't identical with written and spoken English, I'd have ahard time selling the books, wouldn't I (g)? I mean, with all the dialoguein some bizarre'd be like trying to watch anime withoutsubtitles or overdubbing.

As for being Chosen as an adult, you'll actually see more than a bit ofthat in EXILE'S HONOR, the Alberich book coming out in October, but for theshort-form, yes, adults more-or-less "test out" of things they already know,putting them on a kind of "fast-track" version of being a Trainee. And thehousing depends on the person, since there isn't any room-sharing; ifsomeone really didn't feel comfortable being housed in the Collegium Wing,accomodations would be made.

Q: First of all, I'd like to say that you really know how to put that touch into your books (I cried to the extreme for at least an hour when Kalira died in 'Brightly Burning').
Aside from that, I have two questions about Companions:
1: Do Heralds ever get annoyed by the constant chiming of their hooves?
2: Why weren't Companions originally created to be more powerful? Like, with wings and horns and stuff? I think Valdemar may have been a safer place.
I absolutely love your books! By the way, I'm 11 and I live in New Jersey, in case you wanted to know who was reading your novels.
Have a nice day
A: I really need to start buying stock in Kleenex....

The chiming of Companion hooves tends to be pretty soft, and only happens on hard-surface roads, so it kind of moves into the background and is no more annoying than birdsong. (Then again, remember that I live in a house with 10 parrots, so....)

Companions were created in the form of a regular horse precisely because a normal horse is not highly visible, in fact, it's about as 'visible' as a compact car in our society. If someone shows up with a white horse, well, it might just be a white horse (remember that Kantor conceals the color of his eyes in "Stolen Silver") and this enables Heralds to work "undercover." If they showed up with something with wings and horns, well, that would be pretty obvious.

For those non equestrian types out there. Gray horses are born in regular horse colors, bay, brown, black, pinto. Then over time the gray gene takes over and starts turning all the colored hair white. If the horse lives long enough, it will turn completely white. Some breeds of horses have a very high occurance of the gray gene, the famous dancing white stallions of the Spanish Riding School are one example.

So lets suppose that there are a couple of horse breeds in Valdemar that carry the gray gene. There would be lots of young gray horses, and lots of older white horses. How better to hide in plain sight that to become just another older, settled white horse?
Commentary from Firebird

Q: Hi Misty, I have been reading the Storm trilogy again, and cannot figure outwhen Talia became a priest(ess) of Vkandis. In which book is it, or is itstill to come?
A: That will be in a novella in the next Valdemar anthology.

Q: Hello, I just read in the FAQ page that Phil Austin passed away. I VERY much enjoyed his stories with Misty in Sword of Ice. I was looking forward to reading others by him. My question is, do you know if he published anymore? What books would they be in? He was quite talented.

A: Phil Austin was never professionally published except in our anthology. I agree with you that he was a very talented man, and having read some of hisother unpublished work, I think it is a shame that he never got the chanceto see more of it in print.

Q: First of all, this is not technically a question for Misty, just apersonal note and a thankyou The thankyou is for some wonderful reading. I first stumbled on your book Arrows of the Queen about Talia when I was pretty young. My home life was pretty rotten with an alcoholic, abusive mother. I so identified withTalia and spent lots and lots of time dreaming for a Companion to come carry me off. *S* I thank you for the books and the daydreams that helped methrough some pretty rotten times growing up. Now of course, years later I still love the books and have beenintroducing my 8 year old to fantasy. Your books are on the list to give him in acouple years (he's still a little young for them). Now here is my personal note.I found out just after Christmas that I'm expecting again. Already havingtwo boys I really wanted a girl and my husband and I decided we just lovedthe name Kethry if she was going to be a girl. So we chose Kethry Lynn. At 20 weeks along I went in for a routine ultrasound to find,'s twins! And girls. We wracked our brains and could not come up with a name that sounded *right* with Kethry. My husband finally ventured that noname could sound right with Kethry except Tarma. So now the girls will beTarma Roxanne for the firstborn (I think Tarma was older) and Kethry Lynn forthe second born. And when they get old enough I will purchase two complete copies of the Tarma and Kethry series for the girls as gifts so they cansee where their names came from. So thank you for the many hours of enjoyable reading and the lovelynames. If you would like a copy of the birth announcement and have an addressfor fan letters (I am NOT asking for your personal address, but a place where fan mail is delivered) I'd be glad to send it along. However since Ican't imagine the birth of my twins would greatly effect your life I understand if you are not interested in the birth announcement. A: Oh, now that is incredibly cool! Just make sure to tell you girls that notonly do they not have to live up to their namesakes, but that the authorthinks trying might be a bad idea. I mean, look how hard it is for Buffy toget a date! >

Q: Misty, thankyou for answering my question way back when.As I read your books, I am constanly trying to envison the world and where everything fits in the world of Velgrath. Is there any plans to compare the maps with prehistory and "current" times, or to put a "world-wide" map out? I've gotten a bit turned around! Also thankyou for my email addy name, I had not realized I got Kavala (K 'Vala) from your books until the 5th time around when i asked why does that sound familiar when reading the "Winds" trilogy. 3/04/01

A: I'll pass your request on to the people doing the Valdemar Companion book.

Q: Heyla, misty! I've been a big fan for a while now. I found youwriting in the form of Vanyel (who has now my deep and utter fascination) in thelibrary one day. Since then I've been looking for all of you books. I'm sorryto say that the only ones I've read so far are your Valdemar series. Asgreat as they all are, there is one question that always comes up. In Magic's Price and Owlsight, the tagline "acres and acres, and it's all mine" is spoken. What is the rest of the joke?
Wind to thy wings,
A: A man gets a room in an inn; it was hard to get because there is a Fairegoing on and the innkeeper warns him that there are some Faire performersstaying there, including a newlywed husband and wife. He settles down forthe night, when he hears a tremendous ruckus to his right; it's a wholetroupe of musicians praticing and it's an hour before they shut up. Thenthere's another ruckus to the left; it's a dancer and her drummer practicingand they take an hour. Then there's a ruckus across the hall, and this timeit's a dancing bear and it's an hour before they settle down. Finally it'safter midnight and he falls asleep, when the worst noise of all startsupstairs; it sounds like an entire acrobatic team is up there practicing.Infuriated, he runs up the stairs and pounds on the door---no response. Heknocks harder and the door falls open.

There he sees a midget jumping up and down like a rubber ball with glee.Just beginning to take off her wedding gown is his new wife, the biggest fatlady the man has ever seen. Oblivious to everything else, the midget isshouting at the top of his lungs.....

Yep. That's how old that joke is.

Q: 1) Is a firebird akin to a phoenix or an entirely different bird?

2) It seems a shame that Firesong seems to be an only child, does that mean the Tyledras line of Vanyel's will be ending with Firesong? On a parallel question, (perhaps because his partner seems so nurturing) has there ever been a conflict between them about wanting to raise a child? *hehe* I could see a minor one since I just couldn't see Firesong as being patient enough to wish to raise one.

3) Will Firesong be staying permanently in his current vale or will he be going on at least one more adventure? For that matter will Darkwind and Elspeth?

4) Just out of personal curiosity, so far we've seen magic and magical creatures such as Griffons, will we ever see any shapeshifters? *LOL* Just a thought. :)

A: 1) Entirely different bird. Firebirds in Valdemar are both pyrokinetic andcreate 'false sparks' as part of courtship, pairbonding, and display.

2) Firesong's not the only one in the Tayledras/Vanyel line, just the one withthe most power.

3) I have to say that I don't know yet about Firesong. Darkwind and Elspeth,however, have founded Mage's Collegium and will stay there for theforeseeable future.

4) Gryphons, kyree, hertasi, and all the rest are enough trouble without addingshapeshifters to the mix.

Q: I would like to start off saying that I adore your books, especially the Last Herald Mage Trilogy. Your characters seem so real, and with every book, I find myself falling in love all over again. I wept for Vanyel, Lavan and Urtho, and I cheered for Darian, Elspeth and Skandranon. I know you have so many projects in the works right now, but I was wondering if there is a story featuring characters from Iftel rattling around? The gryphons and the religious correlation with Karse greatly intrigued me. I would love to learn more about that country and it's inhabitants.

A: We're getting to Iftel eventually! Right now we're letting some ideas marinate and see what they mature into!

Q: My name is Karen and I am a big fan of your Velgarth novels and have read them all. I was wondering how old Vanyel was when he died?

And I know you are planning a couple of prequels to the Arrows trilogy. But will you ever write another book with Talia as the main character? She is my all-time favorite. Thanks for your time.

A: I think Van was in his 30s, but I hadn't pegged out an exact age.

Right now I haven't actually planned out anything past the Skif and Alberich books.

Q: Hello! I have a question or two to ask about your Velgarth series.
First off was Florian anybody important in his previous life as a herald (orhis new one)?
Also, what was the gift that Herald Pol described as the Gift too see any objects power?
Thanks for answering my questions
A: Florian was a regular Herald in a previous life (no more nor less importantthan any other Herald). The Gift Herald Pol describes is part of Mage Gift,although at that time they are not aware of that fact.

Q: Hi I have a few questions for you. I am a big fan by the way,and I love your Valdemar series! But on to the questions;
A) You say Tarma and Kethry were in their early 60's in By The Sword, but if that was around 1376 AF, like it says in the chronology, and Oathbreakers took place in 1270, wouldn't that make them some odd 120 years old? or is a year in Valdemar a half year, or something??
B) Who is the herald in the book that Talia is reading in Arrows of The Queen that had Evalie as a companion and Vanyel called "Little Sister"?
C) Are you ever going to include a picture in your works that features Selenay, because she's been in many of your books,and I've never caught a picture of her.
D) How many Valdemar Short Story Questions have been released? and what is "Sword of Ice?" Is it in one of those? Thank you in advance if you decide to answer my nitpicky brain itches, lol.
A: A) Since I didn't write the chronology myself, I don't know if it's supposed to be accurate or approximate. But Tarma and Kethry did live well to be well over 100. Working with and around magic does that to you.
B) That's not a story, that's Talia daydreaming, putting herself into the story.
C) I don't do the art, I just write the prose.
D) I have no idea of what you are talking about. I've never heard of Valdemar Short Story Questions. SWORD OF ICE is an anthology of short stories about Valdemar, done by several authors besides me. A new anthology, SUN IN GLORY, is due for publication this year.

Q: Heyla Misty; Greetings from Canada, the "Frozen North"! I know you hear it all the time, but I'm a huge fan of your books...I'meven having my property named in the style of your books...I live in a little hamlet called "Wildfield", and I'm having my property named "k' Wildfield Vale".

Anyway, my question is this: I notice the similarity in your characters,the Kaled'a'in, the Shin'a'in and the Tayledras to Native Indian customs and practices, and was wondering if you or Larry had some Indian heritage inyour blood, and that's why you chose to create these characters?

Also, I heard rumours that you are a Wiccan/Pagan and was wondering ifyou created Kal'enel and Vkandis modeled after the Wiccan God and Goddess,and whether you modeled the 4 faces of the Goddess after the 4 Corners? Just wondering, that's all.

Looking eagerly forward to Take A Thief and Knight's Gambit, as well asthe next Eric Banyan novels...I already have Take A Thief and Spirits WhiteAs Lightning on pre-order...Awaiting their release and arrival. In the meantime, keep up the good work...I'll be here to read yourValdemar books as long as you care to write them. Greetings to Larry, keep up the great illustrations.

A: Now if you can climate-control the place, I'll be really impressed!

There's a lot of Native American influence down here in Oklahoma; I'vealways been fascinated by Native American culture so it seemed natural toincorporate some of those influences.

All is grist for the mill of a writer. You never know what we're likely touse as an influence. My library is extensive and my ordering preferencesare driving the AI at crazy trying to reconcile them to makesuggestions.

Q: Just something I'm curious about. Do you have any plans on writing anything on Need's history? Maybe just a timeline with the names and times of her bearers?

How far before the Mage Wars did she originate? And did she ever fall into any ill-meaning hands while asleep or awake, and how many times did she fall asleep? Sorry, that's four questions...

I'd just like to say that your Velgarth and Bardic Voices books are some of the best books I've ever read and I impatiently await 'Take a Thief' in October.
P.S.- how old were Tarma and Kethry when they died? And if Tarma made leshy'a Kal'enedral, then did Keth just die, or what? Thanx.

A: Nothing that extensive. I've been thinking about doing a novella about herorigin, and that's basically it.

I haven't exactly placed when her origin is, but the magic that created herwould pretty much ensure that if she ever did fall into the wrong hands,she'd be worse than useless to them, asleep or awake. The magic would seeto it that she missed blows, turned in the user's hands, caused spells tobackfire and kept wounds from healing.

They were oooooold. Well over 90. Keth is sipping MaiTais on the beach inBermuda, and Tarma joins her there when she isn't training some youngwhipper-snapper on the Moonpaths. Just because you're leshy'a Kal'enedraldoesn't keep you from enjoying the usual benefits of the after-life.

Q: hey mercedes i love your book my fav is vanyel but i was just wondering if there was any connection between the bardic voices and valdamarian books

A: No connection whatsoever except that the same person is writing them.

Q: My daughter and I have been argueing about ShadowDancer and Sunsinger. In the Windrider song, they come forth to free Windrider and his Herald. My daughter thinks they were chosen Before they freed the Two. But I think that the compassion they felt for the imprisoned Herald and his Companion were what allowed them to be chosen. And possibly in the long run what allowed the curses they labored under to be broken in the end. (We assume they were choisen because you say so in one of your books). Is it your opinion (Since it may be a long while before they demand you write their story) that they were Chosen before or after Freeing Valdemar's Heir and Windrider?

BTW. You are now the second of only two writers who I will buy in hardcover. Jayne Ann Krentz is still Number one. I am 40, the daughter I am arguing with is 20 and my 14 year old daughter asked me to tell you she loves Darien and thinks you should mention whether Elspeth has children yet!!

A: Well, this time the parent wins the argument! Sunsinger and Shadowdancerfreed the Heir before they were Chosen, not after---and it was indeedbecause they resisted temptation and selfish motives to do so that they wereChosen. And it was in part because they were Chosen that their curses werebroken.

And thank you for the compliment of buying us in hardcover!

More about Darien is in the very early planning stages---and I think you'llfind a mention or two of Elspeth's children and Selenay's twins in the Valdemar Companionthat we are working on at this moment.

Q: I just read 'Brightly Burning', a newish Valdemar novel. Apparently the winged horse/companion/whatever on the crest of Valdemar is Windrider. That would make Darshae the Herald/heir. Ok, so in the song, where it describes windrider as 'wing-clipped by magic', is that literal? If one Companion had wings, why don't they all? If it is figurative and Windrider didn't really have wings, why does he have them on the arms of valdemar? What were Valdemar's arms before that story happened? Why isn't all this in a novel somewhere?

I am ccing this to firebird arts who will hopefully relay question to Lackey. The song Windrider Unchained just hits an itchy spot on my curiosity nerve.

A: This was in the days when Valdemar had Real Magic (as opposed to the periodwhen only MindMagic was available) and the Heir was a Herald Mage. Thewinged horse was his magical Avatar (see the Tarma/Kethry novels for CombatBy Avatar) rather than being a Companion. By controlling the andimprisoning the Avatar the Herald Mage was doubly bound.

Q:Dear misty, My favorite parts of all your books about Valdermar are the Shain'a'in proverbs. They are bits of truth & knowledge that everyperson I know can learn from & apply to their own lives at some point. I was telling a good friend about them & trying to remember the ones that rang the truest to me & touched a cord in me. Unfortunately I know that the we're quite a lot of them that I couldn't remember. Do you have themall put together anywhere? If so where can I find them? I would love to give them to my friend so he still has a place to go for good advice & wisdom when I have moved away.

Thanks for all the stories you've shared!

A: Nope. Sorry about that. After all, Heinlein didn't collect his LazarusLong sayings either, until someone decided to make a book of them.

Q: I've always wondered since the first time I read 'The LastHerald-Mage', how do you come up with the languages and names for the different races? I've never heard anything like them before and it's been driving me crazy?

A: Well, the language 'just sounds right.' Can't explain it otherwise. Thenames, tho, are often variations on 'real world' names, just spelled alittle differently. Willerm instead of William, for instance.

Q: Hi, I was wondering if you based Firesong's basic character(sorta) on a character in a movie, 'coz the last time I saw the Labyrinth (the movie), I immediately thought "Firesong" when Jareth the Goblin King made his appearences. They do have similiar attributes. Both are arrogant, powerful magic users, and both have a flamboyant fashion sense.

A: No, because I didn't see Labyrinth until after the books were written. Itcame out during that time period when I did two things, work at my day job,and write, to the exclusion of virtually everything else.

Q: I just finished reading the Owl trilogy, and I will have to take backwhat I said earlier about Larry. He and you did a great job on on the Owltrilogy.
I also saw posted that Tannim is one of my favorite characters outside ofthe Valdamar series. I really enjoyed that little surprise that gave a connection to the Vanyel series. Do you know if the Alberich book willbe out this year? Also, will you writing any books about Roald's timeperiod?
A: The Alberich book hasn't been written yet (I only just signed the contract)so I doubt it will be out until next fall. Tannim makes a token appearancein the next Bedlam Bards book, as does Chinthliss.

Q: Dear Misty,
I am a big fan of yours. I just finished "Owlknight", and I amgetting ready to start "Sword of Ice". Is there any plains for Valdemarexpanding north into the mountains? Also when will your next Valdemar book be released?

A: For the first question, I don't know yet.For the second, this fall, probably (I need to get it writting first!)

Q: I was wondering why the Sunlord left the corrupt priests in charge of Karse for so long. Also, what was the reason for changing his hands-off policy. A: Dunno. He's a god. I don't ask gods why they do things.

Q: One quick question: is Tantras also Tantris (Kris' Companion)? Justcurious. A: One quick answer: Yup.

Q: Having just finished Oathblood,it answered alot of questionsabout what happen between Oath bound and By the Sword...Being a live-steel fighter/performer at the local Ren-faire I know what it's like training /learning to use weapons of different types....If you are ever in K.C.drop by KCRF we would Honored to have you here ....I have taken to doingthings the way Tarma&Kethry would......plan first...act second.....doing thereverse can lead to trouble...Hopefully the Oathbound series will make it to the movies if not to T.V. oh well one can hope...hope to see you soon...

sincerly: A fellow Shinayin......

A: "Plan first, act second" sounds like a Shin'a'in proverb! I wish we couldinterest some media mogul in one of our properties, but alas, so far, notakers.

Q:Dear Misty,

Just a couple of questions.
1. How large is Valdemar? (in area, not population)
2. Will you be taking up Selenay's twins story when they are older?
3. Will the Victorian lady and the parrot ever be the subject of a full length novel?
4. Finally, I understand that you and Larry went to New Zealand recently, I am from there originally, although I am now an Australian, how did you enjoy it?
Love your books.
1. Roughly the size of one of the bigger Canadian provinces.
2. That's the plan.
3. I'd like to do that one; meanwhile, I'm working on another short story about them.
4. We haven't been yet; we're Guests of Honor at the New Zealand national science fiction convention over Easter Weekend. We're really looking forward to everything but the trip over and back, which I understand is about 17 hours in a plane, one way. I've seen enough video footage that I'm in love with the place already.

Q: dear misty, i've been living in brazil for several months now and i saw something incredibly shocking (to me at least) the other day. i saw the word VALDEMAR imprinted in cement. my mother told me that some people here have the last name valdemar. did you get the name valdemar from that? also i want you to know how stressing it is not to have border's or barnes and noble here in brazil where it would be possible to buy your books. reading through the FAQ column, i saw there was a series where the protagonist had my first name, the diana tregarde books. i'll have to read those. are we ever going to learn more about vanyel and stefen?


A: Well, Valdemar was the first King of Sweden, so it's not too surprising that some people have his last name! I thought I'd made it up, but I must have heard/read the name somewhere and when I started writing the first book it probably popped out of my subconscious.

I can understand your stress at not having big chain bookstores in Brazil, but there are a lot of people who think that the advent of the big superstore is a very bad thing. They are driving many of the little specialty stores out of business, and it is the big chains who are now making decisions that affect what readers get to see, just by what they will and will not buy. In the "olden days" it didn't matter if this or that bookstore didn't pick up a particular title because they thought it wouldn''t sell; when the big chains do that, it means more than 75% of a book's potential sales. And the big chains are not buying as many of the books by new authors; they are only interested in track records and previous sales, so unless the publishing house is sufficiently behind a new author to pay for an in-store promotional campaign, the new author is in heavy competition with other new authors for the limited amount of shelf space available---and if his first book doesn't do well, he won't get a second chance.

Well, enough of that. As for Vanyel and Stefan, I haven't got anything in mind at the moment. In the 'present' of the current timeline, they are out of the picture, so to speak; currently sipping Pina Coladas on the beach in Bermuda (aka, the Havens).

Q: I LOVE your books. Especially the Bardic, and Heralds series'. Vanyel and 'Lendel, as well as Rune are my favorite characters. I have a couple of questions. My roomie and I keep arguing over the first. How do you pronounce Vanyel and Tylendel? Also, I know quite a few people who would love it if you wrote a book, or short story about Shadowdancer and Sunsinger. I know you said you have no plans for it, but thought I would mention it in any case. My final question is you brought Savil back as a Companion, do you have any plans to bring other characters back from that time-period as Companions? (Like Elspeth, Tantras, Jayson, or others?) Vanyel and Tylendel/Stephen are too well-known for that I guess, but...? A: It's VAN-yell and ti-LEN-dell. "Van" as in the automotive sort, and"ti" as in "timid".
I really don't plan who to "bring back" as a Companion; it just sort ofhappens on its own. But Van and Steph won't be back; they're reallyenjoying Bermuda.

Q: Dear Misty,
I just read in a post that the new novel about Alberich (Knights Gambit, I think its called) is going to include a part of the Tedrel Wars. Is there a possibility that Herald Jadus will make a reappearance? If I recall Arrows of the Queen properly, he lost his leg in the war by attempting to save the King from (as we learn later) the assassin that Lord Orthallen hired. I can't imagine the story being an enormous part of the book since it's based on Alberich, but it seemed interesting, so I was just wondering.

And BTW, thank you for answering all of the questions in this column. You really do a remarkable job of encouraging your readers, educating them to reality as necessary, and the occasional verbal slap for arrogant assumptions!

Thank you, and thanks for writing!

A: Yes indeedy, I plan to have Herald Jadus make his heroic save-attempt onstage; gosh, how could I not include anything that dramatic! Not to mention tear-inducing (I did mention that I own Kleenex stock, didn't I?)

Q: Heyla! I love Misty's books and music, and I was wondering who the song "Hawkbrother" is about/narrated by? It seems like it's Moondance's story, but there aren't any specific references.

A: Sorry, I didn't write the song, so I don't know!

Moondance, lyrics by DF Saunders

Q: "Do you have any plans on doing a book series that predates the Gryphon Trilogy? And if so, will it reveal more of Ma'ar's past?" A:No plans at the moment, thank you.

Q: Dear Misty,
I was recently rereading The Oathbound. What was the effect of the mage storms on the demon Thalhkarsh? He was magically imprisoned by the priests of Anathei, magically tranformed into a non-Talented female, and in the Material Plane solely because of magic.
A: By that time, being now a mortal, Thalkarsh has shuffled off this mortalcoil.

Q: Dear Ms. Lackey,

I have been a fan of your's ever since I picked up the Marion Zimmer Bradley Sword and Soreceress with your first Tarma and Kethry story. I think I've read every single book you've ever done and I've recommended your books to countless people. Anyways I think your an increadible writer and hope you keep on trucken' =-) I did have a question for you, I was wondering if you were going to write a book going into how Talia becomes a Sun Priest and how Karse and Valdemar become allis. (Or am I an idiot and miss a short story some where?) =-)

Thanks a lot, A: Nope, you haven't missed a short story somewhere! It's one of those that I'm going to get to one of these days---mostly when I get a more compelling frame-story for it than "and they all went to Karse and had a party."

Q: Being born in a communist country and then immigrating, and hence not discovering the concept of 'God' until about age 9 (and not comprehending the idea more clearly until much later), I am constantly re-questioning my beliefs because it is not something I've been brought up with and spoon-fed. So naturally for as long as I've been reading your books I've been debating on the 'theology' behind the Gods in your Valdemar books. There's obviously more than one, between Karse, the Star-Eyed, Valdemar, Rethwellyn, and so on. How do they interact? The few glimpses you've given (and forgive me, my memory of some stories is a bit rusty, being a bit overwhelmed with college work to reread these as often as I'd like) it does not seem like you can call them 'omnipotent' or 'omniscient'. It seems that even the Gods don't seem to know what's going to happen sometimes, and rely on the mortals (Heralds, Tale'sedrin, Tayledras, Kalenedral....) to achieve their ends. Have you worked out a sort of theological basis for this? Is there Fate? I mean, Elspeth doesn't believe in Destiny, but what about Heralds being Chosen - if that's not having a Fate beyond your doing then I don't know what is.

A: I have worked out a basic theology for Valdemar; from the top down it starts with a pretty heavy loading of free will. The Evil Principle is represented by multiple reflections of basic Evil, and the same goes for the Good Principle. The God(s) interfere with the mortal plane as little as possible, directly. Even the Evil Principle stays out of direct interference because direct action would only bring the Good Principle right down on top of the cause of the direct action. That would mean Apocalypse in which it is by no means certain that the Evil Principle would win, and the Evil Principle doesn't bet on anything that's not a sure win. As a consequence, direct intervention takes place through intermediaries.

Intermediaries can be Avatars, Demons, or various flaors of mortals with immortal links, like Firecats and Companions.

But when it comes down to it, nothing is certain; the future has multiple branching paths. As an example, Keisha Alder could very easily have been Chosen if she hadn't told off the Companion that showed up at Errold's Grove---she would by no means have been the first Healer to be Chosen, and had she gone to Haven and the Colegium, it would have directed attention to the needs of Errold's Grove and a fully-quailified Healer would have been sent up there to take her place. Had that happened, a second Companion could have Chosen her sister. Or not, depending on her sister's own reaction to Keisha's being Chosen and subsequent absence worked out.

So although something is likely, that doesn't mean it will happen. That's one of the problems that nearly drove the poor little kid-Farseerer in Bightly Burning crazy; the ability to see the multiple futures but not how to get to the one that does the most good (or the least harm). Not being a Frank Herbert, I don't feel capable of pulling off the story of a Valdemaran version of Paul Mu'ad Dib Atreidies, so I don't have any plans for writing anything about that sort of Farseer right now.

Q: I started reading Mercedes Lackey books just recently. I got the book Vows and Honor from the SF Book Club because of an error I made when filling out my order form. I had been interested in reading these books but there being so many I never knew where to start. I am only half way through Vows and Honor and I simply _must_ read the rest. I love it. So where is best to start? I have tried figuring it out from inserts in the jackets in the bookstores, but cannot. It also looks like some of the characters from some of the books originated in books written by Marrion Zimmer Bradley (or in collaboration with). I hate reading these things out of the order they were intended, which is not always the world's historical order. Thanks. A:What a nice result from a mistake!

In the order in which they were written:

The "Queen's Own/Arrows" books
The "Magic/Vanyel" books
The Gyrphons
The Owl books
In historical order:
Queen's Own

Q: I read recently that your new book "Burning Brightly" is the tale of Lavan Firestorm, who is a legend in Talia's time. Is there any chance of you going back and covering another legend from the past? I would love to see the story of Sun and Shadow. there were so many hints of a great story in the Arrows trilogy. would it help if I beg? please, please pretty please with chocolate syrup and a cherry on top.... A: At this point we really feel that "Sun and Shadow" is better as alegend.

Q: Dear Miss Misty,
I've read quite a few anthologies (like the Sword of Ice and other stories) where writers get together and write about some aspects of Valdemar, how exactly do they get together to write these stories? could it be possible for a relatively unknown writer to join in and if he or she wishes to write on some aspect of Valdemar, how does he or she get permission from Miss Misty ?

Oh and by the way where did Florian, the Companion in the "Winds" series go to? I know that's a lot of questions but thanks a lot for taking the time to read my enquires and God bless.

And before I forget, you are one of the most amazing writers I've ever come across and I hope someday that I could be like you, doing your favourite thing and loving it !

Ah well, thanks again for reading my email ! A: Most of the professional anthologies are 'invitation only' and theinvitation comes from the business-editor---in this case, Martin Greenberg.One sends an inquiry letter regarding a particular anthology or anthologiesto see if it/they are still open (that is, if there are any slots left tofill) and what the requirements are. I'm out of the loop on that one; Ijust check to make sure that the stories are canonical (that is, they don'tviolate what's already been established) because I am the story editor,rather than the business editor.

As for Florian, he's in Bermuda.

Q: Dear Misty,
First of all, you are and have been for several yearsmy favorite author, My question is about Winds ofChange, and the Tower Nyara stayed in with Need. Isthat tower the one Urtho refered to as his "firsttower?"

If it is I agian must praise your job at linking thisall toghther...

Thanks A: Nope. Just your average, random, deserted tower so common in fantasy books.The landscape seems to be littered with 'em.

Q: Misty,
First of all I LOVE your books. My favorites are the Gryphon trilogy(well for that matter anything with a gryphon in it ) and the Tarma andKethry series. Any plans to write more about either ? ( would it help if I beg?Please, please with companion and sugar on top ! )

Well here is my realquestion. I collect swords and in some magazines I've seen replicas ofones in famous books ( the hobbit and stuff like that ) I was wondering if acopy of Need has ever been made or would be in the future? I know I'd surelike to have one !
Just wanted to add one more thing. I read the last straw andI though what those people said they would do was awfull ! I happen to bea Wiccan /Pagan and I love your books and so do all of my Wiccan friends.Your stories are wonderful and who wouldn't want powers like Kethry's or theHawkBrothers ? No real or sane pagan would ever threaten you ( webelieve in the Wiccan rede, which says you can not hurt yourself or another, ever. )Besides, I recall finding your books under the fantasy section. Well,enough of the preaching. I love your books and so do many other pagans, and wejust wanted you to know !

A: Thanks! Well, as far as I know, there was only one attempt to make copiesof Need, which were at the time priced way out of the range of mostfan-pockets. (I think with inflation the current price equivalent would beabout $1000.) I don't know if anyone else will ever try, but your basicplain short-sword replica would be very close.

Q: Dear Misty,
Hello and thank you for whatever god decided to give you the writing talent! I stumbled on you books by accident, reading By the Sword first and finding the Vanyel series in my stepfathers library many years later. I've been addicted ever since. I have all of you books that I can get my hands on. My husband laughs at me when I see one of your books that I don't have yet. Trips to the bookstore for your work is a laugh riot for hm. ;)

I was wondering though, in Arrow's Flight, Talia witnesses the creation of Elspeth's Companion, Gwena. My question is, why was Elspeth so exhausted afterwards? Did Rolan use some of Elspeth's mage energy to bring Gwena into the world?

Thank you for 10 years of wonderful fantasy reading. Please, continue to make these lovely stories.

A: Cause she was just a kid, and out way past her bedtime!

Q: I heard a rumor that you may write a series based on your character Alberich. Is this true? And just out of curiosity, did he have any Mind Speaking abilities at all. It was mentioned that his Companion was rarely seen and his Gift was Forsight. If you are going to, it sounds like a great story. I'm glad that you're continuing the Valdemar series. I was crushed when Owlflight came out. I liked it, but not as much as the ones based on Heralds.
Thank you for your time.
A: Just one book---KNIGHT'S GAMBIT. It'll come out after TAKE A THIEF about Skif.

Q: just a few questions,
1) Vanyel and Tylendel don't lifebond until AFTER Staven is murdered, is this because Tylendel is suicidal, or because Staven was holding that part of Tylendel that would normally hold the lifebond to Van? (Stef seems to lifebond to Van straight away, is that because he was Tylendel, or because he wasn't linked to Staven?)
2) Will we ever hear about what Stefen did in the years following Vanyel's death, and how old was he when he finally went to Sorrows?
3) Has Firesong finally got over that lifebond obsession?
4) Will we hear what happened to Van, 'Fandes and Stef after the Mage Storms?
A: 1. Neither. It was because Tylendel was too preoccuppied with Staven tonotice he was lifebonded.
2. I don't know yet.
3. Yes.
4. They went to Bermuda.

Q: Dear Misty,
I was wondering where in the world do you come with all the names for your characters? I also have a question about your Last Herald-Mage Series. Why did you choose to skip all the stories about Van being on the Karse border? I would have enjoyed reading about how Van got all those scars while pretending to be 5 mages. Thanks a lot,
A:I get names in a lot of ways; I use baby-name books and pick unusualnames, I re-spell common names, and I make up things that just "soundright."
I skipped a lot of Vanyel's life because I like to leave things up topeoples' imaginations!

Q: I was just wondering if you had any plans to extend the short story "Stolen Silver" in to a full length novel, and weather you were going to write on the founding of Valdmar?
P.S. I think that your books are awesome! :)
A: --I really don't have any plans to write about the founding of Valdemar; Ithink it's best as a legend.

I do eventually have plans to write Alberich's story, though, rightafter I get done with Skif's.

Q: I was just writing to FAQ why rape plays such a big part of the Valdemar novels. Tarma and Kethry both are raped as is Vanyel and one ofthe characters out of Winds of Fury. Plus all the women who are mindcontrolled in the Gryphon's series.

Do you find that it helps character growth or does it just add to thestory line. I only ask because it was difficult for me to read thoseparts of the novels simply because it was the act of rape.

Hope to hear a reply

A: I've written over 50 books with roughly 200 significant characters in them.Given that, the occurrance of rape in them is considerably below thestatistical average for a modern, civilized country. In the usualfeudal/medieval culture the occurrance of rape is much higher than that;especially during war or the subjegation of a country or people.

Q: Hello there.

I have to say one simple thing. The first of your books that I ever got, was Arrows of the Queen. It was brand new on the market, and I took it home with me, amongst a few others, and enjoyed it thoroughly. Since then I have spent many hours curled up with your books, laughed, cryed, and just generally enjoyed them.

I have become a member of the SCA in recent years, but I had absolutely no idea you were also a member.... (ok, I please guilty... I too am a card carrying member). This only makes me smile the more, as I have to appreciate the artistry that has come to the SCA. I was lucky enough to meet Robin Wood at Pennsic this year, who has an unbelievable talent with a paintbrush.

I can only sit back and enjoy the talents of those who play with words. My talents do not lie there, a truth that does not distress me. I tend to play with cloth! I enjoy that, and find pleasure when someone else compliments my work, so let me compliment yours.

Thank you for some wonderful moments spent sharing your stories for a while, and am looking forward to the newest one (ok, I think I have most of them, may be missing a couple!). I hope all is well with you and yours, and will _stay_ that way.

A: Lady Jenne, I have had many pleasurable hours constructing costumes, tho nowI tend to costume only for that most perfect of models, Barbie (TM). I wishfor you the sewing machine of your dreams!

Q: I have just recently been "introduced" to Mercedes Lackey's books. I started with Arrow's of the Queen and have really enjoyed reading these books.
I would really like to read these books in the proper order though and am having trouble figuring which order to read them in. Would it be possible to get a list from you with the exact order it would be best to read the Valdemar / Herald-Mage series.
Thanking you in advance,
A: Oy.
The Gryphon books
The Last Herald-Mage books
Brightly Burning
The Oath books
The Arrows book
By The Sword
The Winds
The Storms
The Owls
However, that's not how I wrote them, so, you could read them in order of publication

Q: After reading Owlknight, their expedition to the north is surprisingly similar to the expedition of Lewis and Clark. Was this intentional? Ifyes, what sort of research did you do for writing about the travels in Owlknight? A: No, actually, it wasn't intentional!

Q: I recently read Burning Brightly and i was wondering if Laven's firestarting ability wasn't partly a type of mage magic that the vrondi didn't reconize and thereofor didn't watch him? I just thought that is because several of his episodes are like what happens to mages' when they over extend their powers. A: All Gifts cause a reaction when they are overextended---check back in the "Arrows" books and you'll see.

Q: Selenay named one of her children Kris; was it in any way to honor Dirk's Kris, or just...happened to sound "good"? Either way, I'm glad the name was brought up again.
And my second question is for songs about Valdemar, and the characters surrounding. What kind of legal action/permission does one need, to be able to write and submit a song to you, for previewing? I realize there are lots of gray areas, but if you could enlighten me, it would be of much appreciation.
A: The first question: Yes, that was to honor Herald Kris. The second question: Ask Firebird! The only songs that I have anything to do with are the ones for which I wrote the lyrics.

Q: Dear Misty, As one of your older readers I want to say how much your books have meant to me. I grab each one as soon as it hits the shelves. My question is, will you ever do anything more with the story of Solaris? After rereading the Mage Storm trilogy for the umpteeth time, I am really intrigued by her story and what happens with her and Tremaine? I look forward to many, many more years of enjoyment from your efforts. A: Eventually, yes---but right now, I've finished the story of LavanFirestorm, and I'll be writing the early history of Skif and Alberich.

Q: I was wondering if you'd ever consider writing about what the people in White Gryphon have been doing between The Silver Gryphon and the Mage Wind books. Its a really long time, and I'd like to know what happened to Tadrith, Silverblade, Keenath, and Ikala. ::grins:: And I know that just about every book you write (depending on how much of my allowance has disappeared) will end up in my collection that already takes up more then one bookshelf! You're a great writer, and I hope that someday I can write novels as well as you, or at least close to it! A: That's definitely in the long-term plan!

Q: Hello I stumbled onto a web page during a search of my family name, Benevy. I see one of your characters has this last name. Since it is such an unusual name, I wonder if you would tell me how you came to it. The spelling is even the same. As an only child with parents who were only children as well, I have often wondered if I have any relatives in Eastern Europe...perhaps you heard the name somewhere....or was it a quirk of the imagination? thanks,-CLB A: Sheer coincidence. When I need a name for a character I either make analtered spelling of a more common name, or put together some syllablesthat sound "right" to me.

Q: Dear Misty: I just wanted to know if you ever considered releasing a "People of Valdemar/Velgarth" art book (kind've like anne mccaffrey's "people of pern" co-authored with artist robin wright)? I'd love to see full color illustrations of all our favorite characters (and minor characters:). Such a book often ties together "the history" of a world. Thank you. J'aime A: There is something like that in the works from Marty Greenberg, but Idon't know if it's gotten past the discussion stage yet.

Q: Are you ever planning on having another hero like Vanyel? I know some people might object but I thought the story was well written. It was the first (of many) novels of yours that I read. A: Firesong is rather like Vanyel, although he gets to have an old age.

Q: I heard a rumor that you may write a series based on your character Alberich. Is this true? And just out of curiosity, did he have any Mind Speaking abilities at all. It was mentioned that his Companion was rarely seen and his Gift was Forsight. If you are going to, it sounds like a great story. I'm glad that you're continuing the Valdemar series. I was crushed when Owlflight came out. I liked it, but not as much as the ones based on Heralds. Thankyou for your time. A: Just one book---KNIGHT'S GAMBIT. It'll come out after TAKE A THIEF about Skif.

Q: Hello and thank you for whatever god decided to give you the writing talent! I stumbled on you books by accident, reading By the Sword first and finding the Vanyel series in my stepfathers library many years later. I've been addicted ever since. I have all of you books that I can get my hands on. My husband laughs at me when I see one of your books that I don't have yet. Trips to the bookstore for your work is a laugh riot for hm. ;) I was wondering though, in Arrow's Flight, Talia witnesses the creation of Elspeth's Companion, Gwena. My question is, why was Elspeth so exhausted afterwards? Did Rolan use some of Elspeth's mage energy to bring Gwena into the world? Thank you for 10 years of wonderful fantasy reading. Please, continue to make these lovely stories A: Cause she was just a kid, and out way past her bedtime!

Q: I collect swords and in some magazines I've seen replicas ofonesin famous books ( the hobbit and stuff like that ) I was wondering if acopyof Need has ever been made or would be in the future? I know I'd sureliketo have one ! Just wanted to add one more thing. I read the last straw andIthough what those people said they would do was awfull ! I happen to beaWiccan /Pagan and I love your books and so do all of my Wiccan friends.Yourstories are wonderful and who wouldn't want powers like Kethry's or theHawkBrothers ? No real or sane pagan would ever threaten you ( webelieve inthe Wiccan rede, which says you can not hurt yourself or another, ever. )Besides, I recall finding your books under the fantasy section. Well,enoughof the preaching. I love your books and so do many other pagans, and wejustwanted you to know ! A: Thanks! Well, as far as I know, there was only one attempt to make copiesof Need, which were at the time priced way out of the range of mostfan-pockets. (I think with inflation the current price equivalent would beabout $1000.) I don't know if anyone else will ever try, but your basicplain short-sword replica would be very close.

Q: Dear Misty, First of all, you are and have been for several yearsmy favorite author, My question is about Winds ofChange, and the Tower Nyara stayed in with Need. Isthat tower the one Urtho refered to as his "firsttower?" If it is I agian must praise your job at linking thisall toghther... A: Nope. Just your average, random, deserted tower so common in fantasy books.The landscape seems to be littered with 'em.

Q: I've been thinking about a things concerning the heralds and their gifts.All heralds are Gifted, but are all Gifted heralds?Since the heralds follows an ethical code and the ones chosen are the kindof people who are selfsacrificing, moral and caring (wich I believe itsays in one of the books) and have the feelings they have (...'It is akind of hunger. I can't sit and do nothing while people need help, helpwich I have the ability to give them...).We all know that all people aren't that moral, not even in Valdemar. :)The point is that although there is some bad guys in the books who areGifted it still lacks something to be whole.If someone is born Gifted but aren't moral enough to be choosen by acompanion does that automatically makes him a bad guy?I don't think so, because heralds are more-than-average moral people, so aGifted who's not choosen doesn't necessarily become a bad guy.This would mean that there are some gifted about that's neither good norevil, but rather a mix of both (in other words, a 'normal' person).Their Gift would still set them apart from the general populace, so myquestion is: What does become of them? Do they live 'ordinary' lives likeeveryone else (after all, the common knows about heraldic mind magic, soit would just be a characteristic like a deformed foot or extraorinarystrength?) or are the shunned, and do they then form their own comunitiesor what?Or is it so simple that Gifted are either Heralds or Evil?(As mentioned above, that reasoning leaves a gap wide as a barn door.Things just aren't that simple, although that would be much easier.) A: Well, if a Gift isn't trained and used, (like any other 'muscle') it'sgenerally lost through atrophy.

Q: i would dearly love to get my hands on hardcover copies of the last herald-mage trilogy, but those are no longer in print, and i can't find it used. do you have any info on where i might be able to get them? also, does the queen's own club still exist, or has it followed the dodo? A: The "Last Herald-Mage" trilogy was only ever in hardcover as acompilation volume from the Science Fiction Bookclub. I believe theystill have it, although I don't know for sure. Firebird: The Queen's Own does still exist, the address is over in the Fandom Section. Also The Last Herald-Mage trilogy was never published in hardback.

Q: So far every book that Misty has written and that I've read, I've only been able to put down AFTER the last page is done. I loved them all. So I have a question about Warl. By the time of Mage Wind books and Storm books, we know that Tarma has gone to the Star-Eyed. So what ever happened to Warl, did he get his wish to be taken with Tarma? A: Yes!

Q: I am going to go out on a limb here and hazard an opinion before my question -- I am under the impression the OWL series is geared for a slightly younger set than most of your other books (maybe young adult?). Even if it's not the case, thinking about the age of the readers of Owl*** series made me wonder if you had thought about specifically writing for an even younger audience. Have you and Larry thought of creating a young children's book - either a picture book or maybe a super simple chapter book with illustrations? A: You're absolutely right; we did plan the Owl books as YA. We've thoughtabout doing children's books, but we haven't got the expertise, andwe're already committed so heavily we don't know where we'd get thetime!

Q: Why are all the Gryphons based on Hawks and Eagles, and not Owls?
I've been looking all over for the anthology with Stolen Silver, which one was it, and why has it disappeared?
A: We didn't model any Gryphons on owls, because Urtho hadn't perfected thehawk-falcon-eagle forms to his liking before the war started.We only had one story in "Horse Fantastic" which was reprinted in one ofthe two Baen anthologies, I forget which. However, the way to get an anthology reprinted is to request it of thepublisher, in this case, DAW books. If enough people ask for it, itwill be reprinted.

Q: Hi Misty! I have actually quite a few questions, but I'll narrow it down to three. First I'd like to say that you're one of my very favorite authors, if only for the Last Herald-Mage Trilogy. (The cool thing about this "Ask Misty" column is that I can write a favorite author and might actually get a reply and an acknowledgement of my existence. That does good things for my self-esteem. All righty, my first question starts with a little preamble paragraph. I like the Diana Tregarde series, the Bedlam Bard series, and the SERRAted Edge series. And I know that they're sort of companion books and in the same world. Are you ever planning to write a book with all three parties present and meeting each other? And if not that, will Tannim ever meet Kory and the others of Elfhame Sundescending? (By the way, THANK you ever so much for writing in They Might Be Giants in Chrome Circle. Without it, I wouldn't be the raving fan of them I am.) My second question is shorter, without a preamble paragraph. Do you write *all* of the songs on the Valdemar-related music CD's/cassets? My third question, which really has no relevance: I wonder, did you hav a LOT of fun writing about Starwind and Moondance? I was just thinking that if I did, I probably couldn't refrain from making WAYY too many jokes in the scenes they were in in Magic's Price.A: Green things and halucinations, And thank you!It isn't likely that we'll have ONE book with all three parties meeting;that's a cast of way too many characters. We tend to keep charactersjust passing through each other's books.No, I don't write all of the songs; I think it is really terrific thatso many people are getting inspiration from what we write to go out anddo songs about the books!Of course I enjoyed writing about Starwind and Moondance, but we enjoywriting about all of our characters!

Q: I was just writing to FAQ why rape plays such a big part of theValdemar novels. Tarma and Kethry both are raped as is Vanyel and one ofthe characters out of Winds of Fury. Plus all the women who are mindcontrolled in the Gryphon's series.
Do you find that it helps character growth or does it just add to thestory line. I only ask because it was difficult for me to read thoseparts of the novels simply because it was the act of rape.
A: I've written over 50 books with roughly 200 significant characters in them.Given that, the occurrance of rape in them is considerably below thestatistical average for a modern, civilized country. In the usualfeudal/medieval culture the occurrance of rape is much higher than that;especially during war or the subjegation of a country or people.

Q: Dear Misty, I just finished reading OWLKNIGHT and was wondering if you already had a working title for the fourth book that you announced (maybe OWLCHILD, because Darian and Keisha will become parents ?). Do you already have a working title for the "Skif prequel" ? Do you think that is it likely that one of these novels will come out in 2000 already ? Best wishes, Olaf Keith A: Well, Olaf, at the moment we don't know the answers to any of thosequestions. Right now I'm concentrating on BRIGHTLY BURNING, the LavanFirestorm book.

Q: There is a huge debate on the Misty message boards as to whether or not you will be writing about Lyra and Kris, Selenay's children. Can you clear this up? A: Guess what---I don't know! Right now I am working on BRIGHTLY BURNING,the tale of Lavan Firestorm.

Q: Greetings! I hope to get some answers on a few things I've been pondering for a while. First, what kind of bird is a forestgyre? In "the mage storms" there is a description of Vree: ...lifted narrow pointed wings... wich rather suggests a falcon (?). My uncle's a biologist a he hadn't heard of such a bird, the closest we could find in name was Gyrfalcon. On the other hand is both Sparrowhawk and Goshawk forestliving raptors, and since Tale'edras lives in the Pelargis forest, well - confusion. It had me fretting my primaries off:)
Is it a bird native only to Velgarth?
A: A 'forestgyre" is an invented raptor (like a "scarlet jay" alsomentioned in the books). It is a falcon; basically what a gyrefalconwould look like if it was arboreal (lived in the forest) instead ofbeing a tundra/cliff bird. Imagine a gyrefalcon with goshawk-type longlegs and a more slender body.

Q: How old is Kerowyn when she becomes captain of the Skybolts, and howold is she and Eldan in Owlsight? A: Kero is in her mid-twenties when she becomes Captain, and in her early50s in Owlsight, as I recall.

Q: In Bardic Voices, Alanda is teeming with non-humans while Velgarth only have magical "constructs" as sapient non-humans. Are there no "natural" sapient non-humans on Velgarth, not counting things changed by magic circels or simillar accidents? A: That would be giving away future plots, wouldn't it?

Q: I know that, in one of her "FAQ" answers, Misty has stated "Ireallydon't have any plans to write about the founding of Valdemar; I thinkit's best as a legend.", but I'd just like to add my voice to the (perhapsmuted) clamor for Sun and Shadow's story.
Lythe Shadowdancer and Rothas Sunsinger cry out - to me, at least - tohave their story shared, through the songs "Meeting" and "Sun and Shadow"on the "Heralds, Harpers, & Havoc" CD as much as in the "Heralds ofValedmar" trilogy itself.
IMHO, their adventures and travails, along with those of Darshay andWindrider would make a great book, if you ever get the time andopportunity! Thanks!
A: Sorry. It's not going to happen.

Q: Does "Owlflight" begin a few months after the end of the mage-storms, or over a year and a half later? A: I told you sometimes I get things wrong.

Q: For which purpose were Trevardi created? Hertasi and Kyree have clearly defined purposes for which they are created, but Trevardi? Related to above. Gryphons. Neither the Mage Wars or any other book even hints that they were created for war. They seem to have become warriors more outy of necessity when Urtho got involved in the war with Ma'ar. So, what was their "purpose", or did Urtho made them just because he could (not likely, he's not that kind of person)? (Heh, Kelvren would probably answer: "Why, to give physsical shape to perrrfection of course!" :) I've read every book from The black Gryphon to Owlknight plus 1-4 in Bardic voices and I'm certainly looking forward to more, especially books who takes place in Velgarth. A: Tervardi weren't created for any particular purpose; Urtho wasexperimenting with a herbivorous counterpart to the bondbirds andaccidently came up with the much-more-intelligent Tervardi. Quite asuccessful accident!Gryphons were meant as aerial surveyors and scouts, and to assistlaw-enforcement and search-and-rescue parties.

Q: Here's one for you, I see that there are patterns for barbies and action figures, I was wondering if it is possible to get them in adult human patterns. I would love to wear whites for a costume at the 2nd annual ConVergence, being held in St. Paul, MN this July. What I envisioned from the books wasn't quite as awesome as seeing the Vanyel doll on line.
ConVergence is what Minicon, of Minneapolis didn't want to pay for anymore, they went almost strictly litterary sci-fi. I missed the "Queen's Own" consuite last year, Is that a way that you keep in touch with fans rather than attending them in person?
Also I am an avid fan of RPG, my husband is making his own world and it is on the lines of "Cross Roads" I was wondering if it is okay to use the character types from your novels, and if so, how would we work it up for input to a character sheet and also, how would you then increase levels and not have your fellow campainors think that the GM is letting you play a god???
Do you think you would ever put the Valdemar saga into an RPG? thanks for such a wonderful world to explore.
A: All of the big pattern companies have medieval/rennaiscance/fantasypatterns now in their costume section, and in the dress/bridal/formalsections there are some wonderful patterns as well; I suggest you adaptone of these to make yourself Whites.
"Queen's Own" is a fanclub for the books and the people who enjoy them,not a Misty Lackey fanclub! I keep my nose out of it so that they canenjoy themselves in peace!
As long as you adapt our characters for your own use ONLY it is quiteall right to use them in an RPG; as for how to adapt them, I haven't aclue, as I don't know anything about the construction of RPGs. I don'tknow about the likelihood of there ever being a Valdemar RPG, either, asno RPG publisher has ever shown any interest in publishing one.
Firebird Answer:No. To produce human sized patterns requires a very large printing press. Minimum print run would be several thousand sheets. There isn't enough demand to print patterns, and we can't sell them for $1,500.00 per pattern. The best bet is to buy one of the patterns for the smaller dolls, get a feel for what the clothing looks like, and then hit the local fabric store and buy patterns in your size that can be adapted.
You could also scale the patterns up, then fit to your body. The 1/12th scale pattern would be easiest to work with.
Start by Xeroxing or drawing a 1 inch grid on the pattern piece.
Then on a large sheet of paper draw a 1 foot square grid.
Now where ever the pattern outline crosses the grid put a dot on the little pattern.
Then on the large grid put a dot on the same position. So if there is a dot half way down grid square 1 on the little grid, (at 1/2 inch) put a dot half way down the same grid square on the big grid (6 inches)
Now connect the dots. This should give you a pretty accurate human scale pattern.
The pattern will then need to be fit to your body. This is a bit more complicated, and there are lots of books that will walk you through the basic fitting process. The short form is that the pattern pieces need to get held up against your body, and either shortened (fold the pattern piece to shorten it) or lengthen (cut in two, and tape in another piece).
Once the paper pattern is pretty much the right size and fits, make the garment up out of scrap fabric. A old bed sheet, muslin, whatever. Try this on. Make any adjustments to this. Once the fit is good, take the fabric pattern apart, and use this to cut out your good fabric.
Yes, it is complicated, but will give you the best results. Good luck.

Q: Dear Mercedes Lackey, This question is based on your answer to a previous question (A: Firesong is rather like Vanyel, although he gets to have an old age.). To be honest, Vanyel moved me much more on an emotional level than Firesong did. Maybe it's because I find it easier to relate to the Heralds, because they are more "normal", than to the other fabulous characters you have created. In any case, I have been reading your books for ten years now, and in all that time I have never been disappointed, BUT I yearn to read about the Heralds again (past or present)! I crave more "all-(or mostly all)Herald" stories because of the everyday struggles they had to face and the ideals they tried to live up to. Will the stories of Lavan Firestorm, Skif and Alberich be written based on an "all-Herald" concept? A: Pretty much.Lavan's time is halfway between Vanyel's and Elspeth's, which puts it"pre-magic" and Skif and Alberecht's books are going to be prequels toTalia.

Q: Just a couple quick questions. First off, I have noticed that while you have loads of gay male characters that ive seen very few lesbian characters in your books. I was curious if the male character was easier to write in the context of fantasy. Second, (This may be a firebird question) is there anyplace to find out of print art from the series other than searching online auctions? Thanks for all the wonderful books. A: Hmm. "loads" of gay characters and not many lesbian...well, there'sVan, Stef, and Lendel, and there's Firesong, Moonsong and Starwind. That's six. Lesbian---there's the two Guards that have Van's kid, andKeren, Sherrill and Keren's first partner Ylsa. That's five. (for therecord, Amberdrake and Silverfox are bi, as are most kestra'chern). Just offhand, that doesn't seem too terribly uneven to me!We're working on updating the old art; hopefully we'll get that out sometime soon!

Q: Oh, please, please please please answer this... Misty Lackey mentioned a while back that she was working on the third book in the Halfblood Chronicles with Andre Norton. Is she still working on it? Is she finished? Does it have a name?
I can't remember any offhand, but I noticed as I was reading various novels in Velgarth and Alanda, that a tea called chai or some variation of kava was least, I think so. Did Misty base that purely on imagination or something else? (Because a cinnamon tea called kava is drunk in the Indian subcontinent and chai in Urdu means tea. Btw, I am Pakistani.) I dearly hope I haven't made a mistake; it might've been in a completely different book by a different author...
Also, I was wondering if you're going to eventually write anything more about Sunsinger and Shadowdancer; I would love to read their story.
A: I am indeed working on ELVENBORN, the third Halfblood book; it isn'tanywhere near finished, but I think it's going to be quite good.
And yes, I have used both the real-world chai and kava for my fantasybeverages! Other than that, I'm afraid I don't know a word of Urdu...infact, when the parrots are babbling, we make the joke that they areprobably gossiping about us in fluent Urdu!
We really don't have any plans to write about Sunsinger andShadowdancer; we feel they are better as legends within the stories.

Q: Okay, I have a few questions about Lifebonding, and people who I don't knwo are lifebonded. Exactly, what IS lifebonding? Also, are Keorwyn and Eldan lifebonded? Kethry and Jedrek? Firesong and Silverfox?
Also, is the mage that killed Vanyel the same mage as Falconsbane?
Thanx so much for taking the time to answer these questions!
A: Lifebonding is a very rare, very intense variation on love; basicallythe people in a lifebond are very nearly one. While this soundsromantic, it can cause many problems for the people in that situation.
As for the pairings you mention, no, no, no, and no.
The mage that killed Vanyel was indeed the same as Falconsbane.

Q: Dear Misty,
First of I would like to say your books are some of the best I have ever read! The last herald mage trilogy has been my favorite set of books since I first read them. I came perilously close to crying at the end and am sure I frightened my parents with outbursts of laughter while reading it. I must have reread it three of four times by now. I would also like to say that your having a gay hero was a very good idea. I am only a teenager and this book helped wiped out any prejudices I might have had or made. For that I can not thank you enough. Your books have been a great enjoyment to me and, though they are taking up a lot of space on my bookshelf , I plan to read any more Velgarth books you write. I love how all the story and characters tie together to form the entire history of Velgarth. Now to my question. I am a want-to-be artist not sure how things work. Jody Lee is my idol when it comes to illustrations ( thanks to the wonderful covers she does on your books) and I was wondering how she got started with her career as a illustrator. I cannot find a way to contact her so I thought you could help. If you do not answer this at least I can thank you for the wonderful land of Valdemar you have made available to me and the rest of the world. You are truly gifted and I thank you.
A: Thank you!
The normal way that you get started in fantasy and science fictionprofessional art is to put together a portfolio of your work and take itaround to publishing houses. Jody Lee actually got started doing coversand sometimes interior illustrations for children's classics and youngadult/teen books. Once she had a portfolio of that work, she went on topresent it to other companies.

Q: I've adored reading your books and have managed to get quite a few friends addicted to them as well. One question that I've been dying to ask is if you will be writing any books for the founding of Valdemar. It seems to be a rich and unexplored teritory only hinted at in Arrows of the Queen. Could you possibly backtrack on the time line and write the stories? A: We don't plan on doing anything in the time of the Founding, because Ifeel it is better left as a time of legend.

Q: In Oathbreakers, Tarma and Kethry are going looking for Stefan and Idra. They run into Roald, who tells them that the sorceror behind them won't be able to follow into Valdemar. I assume this is because of the spell-thing Vanyel did, but then how does Kethry manage? And how can she do her Adept manifestation when magic isn't supposed to work in Valdemar? A: Part of the reason is Need, who is more than formidable enough to keepthe vrondi off of Kethry's back. The rest of the reason is that thereare not an infinite number of vrondi, and they actually have to seemagic going on to know that there is a mage there that they need tostare into submission. So until Keth did her "thing," they wouldn'thave known there was another mage around.

Q: I loved the Mage Wars series! The Black Gryphon was the first one of your books I read, and the trilogy is still my favorite! Ever since I've been addicted to your books. You left the ending to The Silver Gyphon open for a fourth book, so I was wondering if you were going to add to the series? I'd love to know what happened between Blade and Ikala, and what happened to Tad and Keenath and of course find out what the ''old bird'' and Drake are up now that their children are off on adventures and finding love. A: We've always intended to do more with the Gryphon series eventually;just what, we don't yet know!

Q: I have enjoyed bidding on your items in the auction, but I was wondering if you are going to make anything in "healer green." Thank you, A: Definitely; probably from BRIGHTLY BURNING.

Q: Well, I have two questions, and not exactly general ones either. First, I noticed that when you first created Firesong in the Mage Winds books he has blue eyes, but in the Mage Storm and Owl books his eyes were silver. Why the change?
Second, I was wondering if the Countess in the song "It was a dark and stormy night" was the same one Roald mentioned in Oathbreakers when he schemes about getting Leslac out of Tarma's hair. Good luck with all your books! Can't wait to read them.
A: Question one: because he's using magic at the highest level, and hascontinued the bleaching process of eyes and hair.Question two: yes.

Q: Dear Ms Lackey.
First, thank you for 10 years of enjoyable reading!
While I enjoy all your books, my favorite period is the one least represented. Do you have any plans in the future to flesh out the time period around the Last Herald-Mage trology? I would love to read more about Medren and what happens to him, what happens to the rest of the Ashkevron family. What happens to Jisa and Trev. The war with Karse, I'm sure you get the idea. Thank you
A: All I can say is, I don't know yet!

Q: I and many other fans are wondering when approximately will brightly burning be out in the bookstores and here at firebird? Do you have any idea? Thank you for considering my answer. A: It's scheduled for May. Incidentally, the publishers all have web siteswhere you can look up previously published books and see a schedule ofwhat is going to be published.

Q: How do you pick out the covers to your books? Do the artists know the story before they paint the picture, or are they given a brief synapsis on what the characters look like, what the story is, etc? Also, what exactly is a kestra'chern? I can't seem to find the reference to it... Keep up the good work, I love your books! Thank you! A: The cover-artist is chosen by the Art Director of the particular bookcompany, who may or may not also be my editor. Depending on thecompany, the artist is given either a general description of what theArt Director wants, an outline of the book, or the book itself to read. The author generally gets no say in what the cover looks like, althoughI must say that Jody Lee has never painted anything less than a stunningcover for me.
A kestra'chern is basically a geisha; the first references are in BLACKGRYPHON.

Q: Hello Misty! I was wondering if you could tell me whether your new book _Brightly Burning_ is written for YA readers. I must say that I did not enjoy the Owl books at all. They were very formulaic and rather slow until the last book, and it was a disappointing read for me. I love you books, and the fantasy world you've created in them, but I would rather skip YA oriented books and avoid disenchantment with your fascinating fantasy series. Just out of curiosity, did the Owl books sell well? I know people that likedthem and others that refused to buy them, and I wondered how this change in your writing style affected your book sales. Thanks so much for giving us all such a wonderful escape from the mundane world. A: The Owl books did do quite well; they were written as a reintroductionto the series for people who hadn't read the previous books. It'ssomewhat difficult to do that without occasionally boring readers whohave.As for Brightly Burning, I can only tell you that Elizabeth Wollheim myeditor, Eluki bes Shahar (who reviewed it for the SF Book Club) and thecopy-editor all responded with "wow!"

Q: I'm just wondering; since Jisa was Vanyel's daughter and not Randale's, wouldn't that mean that Elspeth *isn't* a descendant of King Valdemar? I've been stewing over this question for awhile. A: By the time you get done with all the intermarriages among the highbornHeralds and second, third, fourth and so on children of the Kings andQueens, she's probably just as much a descendant of Valdemar.

Q: I would like to know if you already have (working)titles for the fourth "OWL" book, the Skif prequel, and the Alberich prequel ? Do you know already in what sequence and when you will write them (one per year?) ? A: As it stands, we'll probably do two books a year for DAW, one Valdemarand one non-Valdemar. The Skif prequel will be first.

Q: I am no longer a kid but I enjoy your books anyway. I read the whole Valdemaran series and I notice a minor discrepancy. Kellan (Savil's companion) in Sword of Ice, page 218 we have Savil and Kellan having an lively mindspeech while she notices that HE is not unduly surprise of the hawkbrothers but in Magic Price Stef just barely missed being tramped by HER hooves. Am I seeing things or is my english as a second language??? A: Congratulations, you get a genuine No Prize for catching what theproofreaders didn't!

Q: Hello!! I just wanted to suggest that Kethry's waning and waxing moon serbindi be made and auctioned. I know several people who would love to buy it, including me!! A: There's a thought!I'll see what kind of spare time I've got after Christmas---right nowI'm working on a couple of presents!

Q: I know Misty has said she will continue to write on Valdemar as long as her fans want it (thank goodness!). I wondered if there are any plans to do a trilogy on the flight of Baron Valdemar from the empire and the establishment of Valdemar as a country. I for one would love to read that story...seems like there's just so much more of Velgarth to learn about and enjoy. A: Don't know. Right now I'm working on the story of Lavan Firestorm, andafter him, two prequels to the ARROWS books.

Q: Do the Bardic Voices/Choices novels also take place on Velgarth? I was wondering because both have Cataclysms and ancient paved roads. A: Nope.*All* cultures have a Cataclysm somewhere in the far-gone past---and aGolden Age preceeding it. Check your mythology!

Q: First, I wanted to say how much I adore the Diana Tregarde trilogy and the Magic (Vanyel) trilogy. I was wondering -- will there ever be a "Mercedes Lackey Companion" book printed, one that will feature family trees, maps, character comparisons, etc., like other authors have compiled? It would be interesting to see which characters cross and connect in your various novels :) A: Martin Greenberg, the editor of a whole pile of anthologies, is hopingto do exactly that sort of book.

Q: I have two questions. First of all, how does Animal Mindspeech work? Can you actually send thoughts, or just images and emotions? This has been bugging me for weeks! Second, are the Shin'a'in and Tayledras based on a real culture? A: In Animal Mindspeech, what you get depends on the intelligence of theanimal in question. For instance, what you'd mostly gat from theaverage dog would be "is he gonna throw the ball? Is he gonna throwthe ball! He threw the ball! Ohboyoboyoboy!" and the average squirrelwould net you, "getthenut, hidethenut, getthenut, hidethenut, OH BOY! GIRLSQUIRREL!" From Bondbirds or Warsteeds, obviously you'd get a goodbit more than that.The Shin'a'in and Tayledras are based on a number of cultures, a littlebit here, a little bit there. The Shin'a'in are mostly a mix of PlainsPeoples---Mongols and Native Americans.

Q: I have a question that has been burning in my mind since I read the Owl series, more specifically, Owlsight (an incredible book by the way *grin*). It's a given that Firesong is Starfall's son but...what's been getting me is that Firesong is Firesong k'Treva and Starfall is Starfall k'VALA. Where's Firesong's mother and why isn't Starfall of k'Treva?
I pride myself on loving your books (because they are indescribably wonderful) and in so paying attention to the minutest details but I have to admit this one stumps me. I know that Firesong is a descendant of Vanyel, and that he has a double dose of Vanyel anscestory from both Brightstar AND his twin sister Featherfire somewhere down their lines, and both of them were of k'Treva. Where along the lines did the family clan get changed? I don't mean to be bothersome but I'm being eaten alive with curiosity :) And I still wonder about Firesong's mother. All throughout, even as far as the Mage Storm series, when Firesong speaks of his family, he says his parent's---plural! Where did she go?

A: This is because Firesong's mother is from k'Treva; Starfall neversettled there for very long, hence never adopted k'Treva. (If he had,he'd be Starfall k'Vala k'Treva in formal situations). It's been a longtime since Vanyel---his genes have had a chance to get fairlywide-spread!

Q: I wanted to know if there are going to be any more books on Kero and Eldan, Talia, and/or Tarma and Kethry. I can't help it if I'm seriously obsessed with those chaarcters. I love them! heh heh... Also: KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! Your books ROCK! A: We'll probably do short stories about Tarma and Kethry, and Kero andEldan will show up in other books as we go. Thanks a bunch!

Q: I have been reading your books since I was 10. My mom got my started on them. Since that time I have read the Velgarth series atleast 8 times. I am 18 now. I really enojy your books.

However in Magics Price you never tell how Stefen accomplished the task that was given him so that he could join Vanyel when it came his time. Were you thinking of Writing anything on that. I am very curious as to how he did that. I was just wondering if you were going to fill all of your readers in on how he accomplished this task.

A: Thank you for the compliments! We really appreciate them!As for filling in places and times we haven't covered, I can only saythat I don't know. It partly depends on inspiration, and so far nothingmuch has come up---but you never know.

Q: I'm not sure about Tayledras yet, but did you base the Shin'a'in language on the Romany language? I was looking in a Romany-English dictionary, and some of the words were the same. If you did, where and when did you learn Romany? A: Nope, I've just been making it up as I go along!

Q: I have just finished the latest book in the Owls trilogy, Owlknight, and I would just like to know if you are planning on writing a sequel? Are you planning on writing a sequel to the Heralds of valdemar books? A:We'd like to do a fourth Owl book in a little. Right now I'm working onLavan Firestorm. I am planning on doing a prequel to the Arrows booksnext in the series.

Q: By the way,just a quick question thats been tying by brain in knots since I read Owlflight about a month ago.How come there are'nt any owl-type Gryphons? A: Because Urtho didn't get around to it before the war started.

Q: Well actually its 2 questions. 1. in "Magic's Pawn" it said that Vanyel didn't have any healing gifts but he did have the Bardic gift. But in the other 2 he got healing gifts what happened??
2. Are Elspeth and Darkwind lifebonded???
thank you for taking time out to answer my questions oops by the way my name is Tiaka and Elspeth is my idol bye
A: Question one: I'm not perfect, and I forget things.Question two: No, they are in love, and that is plenty. Lifebonding isvery rare.

Q: Will there ever be a Herald that is a Changechild? When will there be another book for The Serrated Edge? A: Answer to first question: no.Answer to second question: yes, co-authored by Esther Friesner, titleSTONED SOULS

Q: I was wondering just how Firesong knew that Herald-Mage Vanyel was his long deceased ancestor? A: He knew because, unlike in the royal line of Valdemar, the identity ofhis ancestors was not a secret. (The fact that Vanyel was the realfather of the King's child was a secret held by himself and theparents.)

Q: When are you going to have a Compleat Concordance come out in book stores? A: I don't know for certain; all I know is that Martin Greenberg is workingon it.

Q: You said that you had no current plans to write the story of Tarma's death. I believe you said it would be too deary. Therefore, I am wondering if Warrl went with her to the Star Eyed One. He had expressed a desire to do so. A: Yep!

Q: I was just wondering if Mercedes Lackey has made any comments regarding wether ir not there will be more forthcomin books on the World of Velcrath. (In other words, Valdemar, Shian'in and the such.) A: The next book will be BRIGHTLY BURNING (in the spring) the story ofLavan Firestorm.

Q: I have noticed in some of books in your Valdemar series hint at a link between companions souls and deceased Heralds. Am I reading too much into this? It seems to my mind that Savil, Vanyel's aunt is very like Sayvil a companion who shows up in the Mage Winds books... Is this an insight into the afterlife choice given to Heralds you've been hinting at? Thru words by (Ghost) Vanyel and (Vision) Kris? Or am I just seeing things that aren't there? BTW thank you for brightening up our lives and starting my addiction with my parrot children I now have 6 lg. parrots... a lot of work but soooo worth it. Thank You Both for existing! A:Like good ecologists, Valdemarans recycle. Companions (all but theGrove-born) are recycled Heralds.Enjoy your feathered family, but beware, they ARE like potato chips,it's hard to stop at one or two (or three, or four....)

Q: I know that there is no hope for a movie about the Valdemare stories any time soon, but have you ever considered making animated shorts that we could download or view on Firebird's web sight. I find it is hard to imagine exactly what some of your creatures look like when they move (such as the hasteri) and seeing an image would be helpful. A: Larry would be the first one to tell you that computer animation isnowhere near as easy as it looks. He's still trying to master programslike Bryce and Alien Skins for static art. As I have pointed out in mycase---we have a finite amount of time. You can have new books, or youcan have computer animations and Valdemar games; you can't have both. Since the very notion of us using our time to produce the latter wouldhave all of our editors storming the gates, the answer is, of course, weare going to be producing the books, not the games or animations!

Q: In the second Last herald-mage book Vanyel discovers a heartstone being used to heal a fault under the country, what happened to this heartstone between then and the mage storms series? A: It's still there, but mostly drained.

Q: Second, how did Velgarth and the Valdemar Heralds take shape in your mind? In other words, where did you get the idea? My ulterior motive for this question is I can never think of plots for my stories that haven't already been written and rewritten a million and one times. So if I find out where the plot for my favorite set of books came from, I might be onto something. A: Much as I hate to admit this cliche, the idea for Valdemar and theHeralds started with a dream. However---Theodore Sturgeon said that allstories come from "asking the next question"---you start with a "Whatif..." and let that answer lead you to more questions. That's prettymuch the way I work. I also start with a character or characters, andlet the story proceed from them. When things get too good for them, Idrop a big rock on them!

Q: First, are you considering writing a book or a series of books based in Velgarth in which the primary character/characters is a Healer? I know that I, for one, would definitely buy such a series. A: Well, one of the primary characters in the OWL series is a Healer. Ican't say for certain past that, because I haven't planned past the Skifprequel and the Alberich prequel. --

Q: Do the deities of Velgarth know the future? A friend of mine says they don't. --A: I don't know, They never told me!

Q: FAQ. I just started reading the Valdemar series and was wondering about where to start the first one. I read the Magic series first. I am halfway through but I was wondering. I am now reading Storm Warning and my question is do you have to read that one then read Black Gryphon or continue reading the Storm series? A co worker who loves your books told me to read the first storm book then the first gryphon book and so on so I would understand the storms that are raging in the book. I would really like to know. I believe I am supposed to read all the storms then go from there. Thank you.

A: In order of writing, the "Arrows" books are first, followed by the "LastHerald-Mage", the "Winds," the "Gryphons" then the "Storms." Since wedeveloped the concepts in that order, that's probably the best way toabsorb everything.

Q: Several friends and I have often wondered how Savil met the Hawkbrothers,and we were wishing Misty would write more about her. Do you think thiswill ever happen? 5/16/99
A: That would make a good short-story, so I probably will get around to itone of these days.

Q: Will Misty ever write a prequel to the Valdemar series? Sort of like how the Great Ones came to be? 5/11/99
A: At the moment, we haven't planned that far ahead (or behind...)

Q: Is there any way to get the Winds Trilogy in Hardcover anymore?
A: No. Once they take the hardcover out of print, they never put it backin. The few copies they had have already been remaindered out.

Q: Is there going to be a Story, or Stories for Shadow Dancer and SunSinger/Windrider? 5/10/99
A: At this point I haven't got anything planned. I think this may be bestas a legend.

Q: Is there another Velcrath Anthology being planned? If so, how doesone submit Art work and Stories? 5/10/99
A: There is no Velgarth anthology being planned, and if we do oneeventually, I am afraid that my co-editor Marty Greenberg runs these as"closed" anthologies, which are by invitation only. You cannot submitartwork for an anthology at all, even for open anthologies. If what youwant is to see your work in print, I suggest submitting it to one of themany fanzines for Valdemar/Velgarth fan fiction and art. You can get alist of these from the Queen's Own fanclub.

Q: Do you accept suggestions for patterns for Dolls clothes? 5/10/99
A: I'm not the one responsible for the patterns for the doll'sclothing---that is Teri Lee's project. When I costume dolls personally,I use existing patterns that I modify for the character, and what Icreate is subject to my personal whims.
Firebird: Sure, we accept ideas, and have a list a mile long of pattern suggestions.

Q: We have been having an ongoing dispute over the meaning of a Tayledras word.Is there a glossary or something where we can find it?
A: Not at the moment, but Firebird may have one planned!
Firebird: We don't have one planned at the moment, but how would you folks feel about a on line glossary with contributions from the readers?

Q: Who is Windrider, anyway?
A: Windrider is/was one of the early Heralds and the Heir of the time.

Q: Exactly how old are Tarma and Kethry??? 6/01/99

A: Exactly when are you asking about? In the earliest story (the one wherethey meet) Tarma is about seventeen and Kethry is about sixteen. In BYTHE SWORD Tarma is about 63 and Kethry is about 62.

Q: Hi, I was wondering if you would ever consider making a replica sword of Need that would be for sale? Or is it possible that there is one and I just missed it?

A: What do you mean by "replica"? Pendant? Pin? Letter-opener? Fullsized sword??? Have you looked at the prices of full sized swords??????Other than that, this might be an option for Firebird to check out.

Q: In "Arrows of the Queen", it mentions that sometimes theMonarch's Own Companion will Choose someone already Chosen i.e., a Herald or trainee. But what happens to that Herald's Companion? It's supposed to be a lifelong bond! I'm sure the answer is in the books somewhere but I've reached "Storm Warning " again and haven't come across it. Am I just missing it or hasn't this ever been revealed?Okay, I lied. Two questions. Is there a possibility of another anthology like "Sword of Ice"? I have a story I'd like to submit but noidea where.

A: The "original" Companion never actually "Chose" the Monarch's Own in thefirst place, though there is no way for that Herald to realize thisuntil AFTER s/he is Chosen by the Monarch's Own Companion. It's kind oflike not knowing you were nearsighted until you get glasses. As forthe "original," s/he either makes a real Choice or retires, dependingon how much wear-and-tear has gone on in the interim.

We have another anthology in the works, but DO NOT submit stories tome. They go through Marty Greenberg. I do not read unsolicitedmanuscripts of any kind---there's too much legal liability there.

Q: Will you be writing more stories that have Shay'a'chern hero's as maincharacters like Vanyel? Granted that having too many Gay hero's may befrowned upon by some (maybe most), but it can also teach those who don'tunderstand it, to at least better tolerate it. To Love is still Love, bywhatever creed, race, religion, or sexual preference.

A: What, you think Firesong is chopped liver? He seems like a maincharacter to me! Nine books the man is in already!

Q: I would like to know if you have already plans for VALDEMAR after "Owlknight". Will "Brightly Burning" be the next VALDEMAR novel ? If so, any idea as to when this might come out ? Will there ever be a novel about the founding of VALDEMAR ? A kind of equivalent to Marion Zimmer Bradley´s "Darkover Landfall" and Anne McCaffrey´s "Dragonsdawn" ?

A: A fourth "Owl" book is in the plans. BRIGHTLY BURNING will be out inspring of 2000 and is the next Valdemar book, about Herald LavanFirestorm. We're not planning on anything about the founding ofValdemar at the moment.

Q: For Misty, I was wondering why she did her series in threes? Would Misty ever consider making a fourth novel in a series-especially the Arrows series? I'm dying for Owlknight, and Brightly Burning!

A: Actually, we're planning on a fourth "Owl" book, and one about Skif as akid that would fit into the "Arrows" series as a prequel.

Q: I'm wondering if there's a possibility of some of the "myth" stories in Valdemar ever being published? Maybe as a Valdemaran version of brothers Grimm- a collection of the stories children in Valdemar grow up on? I mean, there's the Windrider Unchained and the Sunsinger and Shadowdancer... I personally think it's an interesting idea. The stories aren't being removed from the realm of fable, but we fans still get some idea.

A: That's certainly a thought. It might be interesting to make it a themedanthology.

Q: Will you ever consider doing a short story collection on Vanyel, filling in the gaps between the books with the stories that the ballads from "Shadowstalker" are based on?

A: No plans, but you never know.

Q: Hi! I've been a huge fan of all of the Valdemar (and surrounding countries, too!) books for years, but recently I've noticed people referring to this series as the Velgarth books. Is Velgarth the name of this world, or does it refer to something else?

A: Velgarth is the name of the world---since we're now doing books in WhiteGryphon, the Tayledras lands, and the Empire, it seems a bit silly tokeep calling them 'Valdemar" books.

Q: In Arrows Fall Dirk and Elspeth are discussing various things and the following question comes up. "Heralds never ask them (the Companions) to (help them). . . . What's the one governing law of this kingdom? . . . There is no 'one true way.' Take it a step further. Why are the clergy forbidden by law to pray for Valdemar's victory in war?" (214) This has kept me up nights for years! I don't get the connection.

A: Since "there is no one true way," all religions in Valdemar areconsidered equally valid. Since all religions are equally valid, ifthere was a war, one or more religious factions might seek to have a"victory" that suited their own purposes, rather than a victory thatsuited everyone in the kingdom. Hence, rather than get into that, theclergy are forbidden to pray for a victory, but rather for peace.

Q: For Misty: Will there be sequles planned to the Mage Storms series,as I'd like to find out what happens to Karal, Elspeth, and the rest.

A: There won't be any DIRECT sequels (main characters in the Mage Storms asmain characters in subsequent books) but you will find out what's goingon with "old friends" in future books---some information is in OWLSIGHT,for instance.

Q: Are you and Larry going to continue with any more books set in White Gryphon or with the Black Kings?

A: Yes, tho not immediately.

Q: I just finished Sword of Ice and wondered if there is another anthology in the works? I also wondered if their will be any more stories and myths from Selenay's shadow's Companion? A: Yes and again it is a closed anthology, by invitation only---sorry! That's the way Martin Greenberg runs these things.

No, probably not; that character is really best done by the late PhilAustin.

Q: If we were to send you a self addressed envelope and a stamp, would you send us a autographed photo of yourself, Larry or the two of you together in one photo???? im sure that you would get a lot of requests, maybe to many but....... please o please o please????? oh and will Firebird be lifebonded or be in love, or have I missed that book???

A: Well, I'm afraid we don't have any photos to autograph and send out,sorry---it's just not something we get a great deal of requests for!

I'm not sure who you mean by "Firebird"---if it's Firesong, you will seein "Owlsight" that he is very much attatched to Silverfox.

Q: Hello, this is Valerie, I've read all the Valdemar series, and I wonder whether Ms Lackey will one day tell us the story of what happened before the mage war, how the war between Ma'ar and Urtho started and all? I felt sort of parachuted into a war I'd heard of, but never knew what started it all... Thank you! A: We don't have anything like that in planning yet, but anything ispossible eventually. It's a big planet, with a lot of history.

Q: Misty, I was wondering if the Tayledras Language Project [] had your blessing. They are attempting to complete the Tayledras language, adding words to make it able to be spoken. I found it odd that someone else was trying to make your language and wondered if you condoned it. Thanks ever so much for your time.

A: Well, this is the first I've heard of it! They sound like the peoplewho were doing Klingon not that long ago. Well, hey, I hope they have agood time at it; they'll just have to figure that I won't neccessarylyfollow their rules!

Q: While in my first rereading of the Mage Winds series I noticed that the one kalendral spirit was in truth Tarma. I had always wondered, knowing that Tarma is obviously now gone on to the next realm, if you had any intention of ever giving the details of Tarma and/ or Kethry's end. That and I always wondered if you had any intention of writing some short stories about the Rebuilding of Tarma's clan through Kethry's children. I always felt that would be an interesting story to read.

You must be very fond of Firesong, I swear he pops up in more books than Vanyel now! Any particular reason?

Q: One other question. I adore Jody A. Lee's artwork, it is truly fitting for your Velgarth novels. I always wondered what made you decide to go with certain artists for your various series. Is it your choice? the publisher?

A: Unless it's a very dramatic death (like Vanyel's) reading about the endof something is depressing and boring. Trust me on this.

On the other hand there are likely to be several stories of Keth'skids. Life is never boring around that mob.

As for Firesong, we wanted to show the slow maturation of a character asopposed to the dramatic maturation of a character.

The publisher makes all decisions about who does the cover art---in ourcase, Jody's first cover for DAW was my first book, so we've been pairedever since!

Q: I was wondering where exactly Errold's Grove and Darian's Vale would be located on the map of Valddemar.

A: On the Eastern border north of Lake Evendim.

Q: There is a huge debate on the Misty message boards as to whether or not you will be writing about Lyra and Kris, Selenay's children. Can you clear this up?

A: Guess what---I don't know! Right now I am working on BRIGHTLY BURNING,the tale of Lavan Firestorm.

Q: When will Owlsight come out in paperback in Australia? 6/07/99

A: Sorry, I have no contact with overseas publishers, so I have no ideawhen books will be published overseas. Try contacting the publisherdirectly.

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